The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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October 21, 2013

N. Mankato couple found guilty of child neglect

Parents maintain innocence while pleading guilty to starving a child

(Continued)

The plea agreement for Mona Hauer also said she will receive a stay of imposition for the felony conviction. That means, if she successfully completes her probation requirements, the charge could be reduced to a misdemeanor level.

During the plea hearing, Krehbiel told the Hauers she doesn't usually accept Alford pleas in these types of cases. She said she had been swayed in this case by Fischer's concerns about the boy testifying.

After the hearing, the Hauers' attorney, Christopher Rosengren, said his clients didn't want their family, or the boy, to go through a trial either. The Hauers have never faced criminal charges before and, up until the charges related to the boy were filed, had been considered model foster parents in Nicollet County, he said.

If the Hauers had gone to trial and been found guilty, Fischer was planning to request a year in prison for each of them and a judge's order requiring them to pay prosecution costs, Rosengren said. He estimated those costs could have reached more than $50,000.

"They were faced with a Hobbesian choice here," Rosengren said. "They didn't want to put their whole family through this. Forget spending a year in prison. And, if they go to prison, then what happens to their children?"

Krehbiel ordered pre-sentence investigations for Mona and Russell Hauer. Sentencing is scheduled to take place Nov. 26. Fischer has agreed to remain silent during those hearings. Rosengren will be allowed to argue for lighter sentences and said the Hauers have many people who will be writing to Krehbiel on their behalf.

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