We the parents of the children who have been entrusted to the care of Kristi Altepeter, and other concerned parties, believe that she has been dealt a hash and unfair punishment for her role in an incident involving one of the children at her in-home daycare.
Her livelihood and reputation are being destroyed by the State’s flagrant disregard for the intent of the law. No sensible person would claim that she, “by an intentional act,” used “unreasonable force or cruel discipline that is excessive under the circumstances” as defined by MN Statute 609.377 Subdivision 1. Much to the contrary, as parents, we consider ourselves fortunate that she had the courage to do what was necessary to prevent a child, determined to enter an unsafe situation, from severely injuring himself and other children.
“Intentional act” and “under the circumstances” were considerations that the prosecuting attorney refused to examine. He summarily dismissed any and all remarks from people aware of the incident, who said they did not believe that any wrongdoing had occurred. He brazenly used overly dramatic language to suggest to the jury that Kristi acted “in a fit of rage.” The jury was later confounded by the instructions they were given to decide the case, to which no one offered any clarification. It isn’t a stretch to say that no one is the courtroom that day (very likely including the prosecutor) actually believed that Kristi acted maliciously, yet the jury was bamboozled into returning a guilty verdict.
Parents who have left children in Kristi’s care would challenge the notion that the children’s health, safety, and rights are “at imminent risk of harm” if they remain in her care. There are no fewer than 13 families that can attest to the fact that Kristi is among the kindest, gentlest and most patient people you could ever hope to meet. Now these families are forced to find alternative daycare for their children, in a city where options are severely limited. We couldn’t care less that “Polk County cannot ensure the safety of the persons served in [her] program.”
How could we have any faith in a system that continues to be contemptuously unaccountable to the people it purportedly serves.
We certainly hope that everyone can work together to resolve this matter appropriately so that a good person can continue doing a vital job in our community and that justice may be served.
David J. Trousil