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Mother whose daughter was poisoned by father gets probation

July 1, 2021 GMT

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (AP) — The former wife of a Massachusetts man convicted of trying to kill the couple’s then-7-year-old daughter with drain cleaner has pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment of a child and avoided jail time.

Julie Gordon, formerly Julie Conley, was sentenced Wednesday in Hampshire County Superior Court to probation until September 2023 under a plea agreement.

The no-contest plea means that while she maintains her innocence, Gordon, 39, acknowledged that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict at trial.

Gordon’s defense team believes she was wrongly accused, and sees the no-contest plea as “a way to protect her from a potential wrongful conviction and to allow her to continue to assert her innocence,” they said in a statement.

As part of the agreement, felony charges were dismissed.

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Gordon and her ex-husband, Christopher Conley, were first charged in 2015.

Prosecutors said Conley administered lethal amounts of drain cleaner and opioids to the girl, which led to extensive surgeries and lifelong medical problems. The girl has since been adopted.

Conley was convicted last year of attempted murder and other charges and sentenced to up to 18 years in prison.

Gordon was not accused of participating in the poisoning attempt, but prosecutors said she exposed her daughter to harm by misrepresenting her medical condition to doctors and consenting to risky surgeries leading up to Conley’s actions.

“Today’s plea holds the defendant publicly accountable for her disturbing conduct, while providing some measure of closure, healing and justice for the victim,” prosecutor Steven Gagne said.

One of Gordon’s attorneys, Bonnie Allen, called the prosecution’s account of events a “distortion” and said Gordon was a devoted mother who simply sought the best care for her daughter.