The Washington Times-Herald

March 21, 2014

Woman convicted of neglect to stand with sign

By Nate Smith Times Herald
The Washington Times-Herald

---- — PETERSBURG — A woman convicted of child neglect is scheduled to make a public display as part of a plea deal.

Jennifer Gist, 28, Winslow, will stand in front of the Pike County Courthouse with a sandwich sign board that will, according to a release, "inform the public of the dangers of failing to supervise young children."

The release from the Pike County Prosecutor's Office said Gist pleaded guilty to neglect of a dependant, a Class D felony, on March 14. She was sentenced to 20 weekends in the Pike County Jail, but if she stands in front of the courthouse, she can cut that sentence in half.

Prosecutor Darrin McDonald was not available for comment late Thursday afternoon. A receptionist in the prosecutor's office did not know how long Gist will be standing with the sign or what the message on the sign would say.

A Petersburg police officer found Gist's two young children on Main Street. The May 23, 2013 incident followed a July 2012 incident where the children were found playing on nearby railroad tracks.

Gist admitted during the plea hearing she failed a Department of Child Services safety plan that required her to put a safety latch on the back door of her home. The latch was not on the door when the children left the house the second time.

Gist was also sentenced to probation and community service, the release said. It is not the first time a public display has been sentenced for an offender in Pike County. On Feb. 8, 2013, Larry T. Bass, Petersburg, stood in front of the courthouse with a sandwich board that read "registered sex offender who bought alcohol for kids."

Bass, a convicted sex offender recently released from prison and on probation, pleaded guilty to buying vodka for juveniles in September 2012. He also served additional work release time.