CLEARFIELD – A daycare owner charged with the death of a child was sentenced on Wednesday.
Megan Bucha, 31 of Philipsburg, pleaded guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and recklessly endangering another person. The charges stem from a 2007 incident at her daycare, Kid’s Corral, that lead to the death of one of the children under her care.
Prior to sentencing, a number of people spoke, both on behalf of the defense and prosecution. Tears were shed on both sides of the courtroom.
Jennifer Bainey spoke on behalf of the victims.
“We knew Megan … felt the girls would be safe with her.”
She also discussed the ordeal at the hospital, and asked President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman to give the child justice.
The child’s mother also spoke. She talked about the hardship this put her family through and how it has affected her other daughter.
“I paid Megan good money,” the child’s mother said. “She knew the rules.”
Carrie Slother spoke on behalf of the defense. She said she’s known Bucha for six years as a fellow daycare operator. She told the court how helpful Bucha was in helping her to change her daycare’s classification. She stated that Bucha was honest and always responsible.
Christene Shaw, who utilized Kids Corral Daycare, had nothing but praise for Bucha. She said she was very comfortable using Bucha’s service, and that it was very child-friendly.
“She was attentive to the childrens’ needs,” stated Shaw.
She said she learned that Bucha was out of compliance on Oct. 12, 2007, and stated that this had to be an out-of-the-ordinary event.
Jodi Franks, who also utilized Bucha’s service, also had spoke on her behalf. She said that Bucha spent a lot of time and money to prepare her daycare, and that she never pictured a situation that was unsafe.
Both Franks and Shaw asked the court to consider the good that Bucha had done for children when considering her sentence.
Bucha’s husband, Joseph, spoke on his wife’s behalf.
“Megan loved children. She loved the daycare and the children in it.”
He also stated how this has affected his family.
“How do I explain to my six year old why her mother didn’t come home?”
A tearful Bucha also addressed the court.
“I’m here before you today to accept responsibility for that day,” she said.
She stated that she understood she was understaffed, but that she couldn’t control that her staff member was late.
“Nothing I will say will change it.”
After hearing from both sides, Ammerman addressed the courtroom.
“This case is a terrible tragedy for everyone. There is nothing I will be able to do here today that is going to alleviate the pain, the loss and emptiness the family feels. It’s something they’re going to have to carry with them the rest of their lives.
“A law-abiding citizen made a mistake. No matter what sentence I impose, neither side will be satisfied.
“I’ll do the best I can.”
Ammerman said he would sentence Bucha within the sentencing guidelines. On the charge of involuntary manslaughter (M1), Bucha was sentenced to six months to one year in Clearfield County Jail, three years probation to run consecutive to the incarceration term and 200 hours of community service. She is to have no contact with the child’s family. On the charge of reckless endangerment, Bucha was sentenced to six months to one year in Clearfield County Jail, to run concurrent to the above sentence. She was also fined a total of $1,000 plus court costs.