Female Daycare Owner Only Gets Probation After Sexually Abusing A Child In Her Care

MASON CITY | A Charles City woman accused of sexually assaulting a child at her day care was sentenced to probation Monday.

Judge Rustin Davenport sentenced Tawny Symonds, 31, to five years of probation. A sentence of five years in prison was suspended. 

A suspended sentence means Symonds could possibly be sent to prison if she violates terms of her probation. 

Other sentencing terms state Symonds cannot have contact with minors and must pay over $1,000 in restitution.

Symonds declined to comment before her sentencing Monday.

The father of the child was visibly angry as he gave an impact statement prior to sentencing.

“You are a f—ing disgusting person, and I hope karma gets to you,” he said.

He left the courtroom abruptly after speaking for about a minute.

The child’s mother gave a longer statement, detailing how her daughter had been violated, and how she felt Symonds was lucky if she avoided a worse sentence.

At one point, she described Symonds as a “pedophile.”

She said the main reason she was giving a statement was to continue to protect her daughter, and to show the community that this shouldn’t be tolerable behavior. She added her daughter, who was 2 years old at the time, sustained injuries to her genital area as a result of the assault.

“Just because she’s a woman, I guess that’s put to the side,” she said of harsher charges against Symonds. “I feel like a plea deal is a slap in the face; she isn’t learning anything from this.”

Symonds, who did not react as the child’s parents read their statements, is accused of using an object to sexually assault a female child under the age of 3 in December 2016, causing “blunt force trauma” to the child’s genital area, police wrote in charging documents. 

The Globe Gazette is not identifying the child or her parents, as the newspaper typically does not identify victims of crime.  

Symonds was initially charged with three felonies: second-degree sexual abuse, assault with an object and child endangerment.

Through a plea agreement, which dropped the sexual abuse and assault charges, Symonds was only sentenced on the lesser child endangerment charge, to which she submitted an Alford plea.

After the hearing, Iowa Assistant Attorney General Scott Brown said he and the Cerro Gordo County Attorney’s office had to consider the evidence, chances of conviction and putting the affected parties through a trial. 

“It was not entered into lightly, it’s a deliberate process … particularly when you’re dealing with a child victim; it’s complicated and it’s a delicate process,” Brown said.

When the Globe Gazette then asked Brown why a sex abuse charge was dropped through the plea agreement, he said he could not comment on certain evidence that would have gone to trial.


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