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Parents urge prison time for sitter
The Rocky Mountain News | September 30, 2000

Relatives of 3-year-old Hunter Rodriguez on Friday demanded prison time for a former day-care worker who left the boy brain-damaged two years ago.

But attorneys for Shawna Pint, 31, called the incident an accident. They said putting Pint behind bars would deprive her two young children of their mother.

Arapahoe County District Judge John P. Leopold said he will decide what to do Oct. 24.

But, he added, "Someone is not going to be satisfied with whatever I do."

Pint pleaded guilty in June to negligent child abuse in the October 1998, incident that left Hunter with permanent brain damage. He is blind and suffers seizures.

Pint, who ran a licensed day-care center in her Aurora home, has said that Hunter, 14 months at the time, kicked at her abdomen as she was pulling up his pants after changing his diaper. She claims she pushed back at the toddler, who hit his head on the floor.

Hunter's parents, Greg and Jacqueline Rodriguez, told Leopold that Pint's negligence destroyed their lives , as well as Hunter's.

"I may never get to play catch with him," Greg Rodriguez said.

"I may never get to see him play baseball or drive a car."

A tearful Jackie Rodriguez, clutching a Bible, said, "I want him to go on dates. I want him to go to the prom. I want him to graduate from school."

Looking at Pint, Rodriguez said, "She should serve the maximum the law will allow."

John Hower, the chief deputy Arapahoe County district attorney, asked Leopold to sentence Pint to six years in prison.

But Pint's lawyer, Patrick Mulligan, pointed to her spotless record, and psychiatric evaluations showing she is not a danger to society.

Family members said Pint is already suffering the consequences of her actions.

"Nine out of 10 nights she cries herself to sleep," said Mark Pint, her husband of seven years. He pleaded with Leopold not to take Shawna Pint away from her two children, ages 5 years and 16 months.

A tearful Shawna Pint said she has "sincere remorse" over what happened to Hunter.

"I pray for him every day. I pray for his family," she said.

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