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Galloway woman admits to endangering children in beating, starving of young girl

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A Galloway Township woman accused of beating a 9-year-old in her care and nearly starving her to death pleaded guilty to two counts of child endangerment.

Stephanie Gregory, 58, admitted that in 2020, she did not provide proper and sufficient food for the child, resulting in the girl being hospitalized with severe malnutrition.

The woman also admitted to having the victim's then-6-year-old brother witness Gregory strike the older child.

She faces five years in prison under the plea agreement.

The 4-foot-tall girl weighed less than 38 pounds and was barely able to walk when she was first hospitalized, according to the affidavit of probable cause previously obtained by BreakingAC. The bone above her buttocks was protruding and her legs were extremely thin.

She CT scan discovered an abnormality on her brain.

The victim also had wounds on her hands, welt marks on her back and bruises on her stomach, back of her head and on the underside of her neck, the affidavit reads.

Gregory was originally charged with beating the girl using a metal spatula.

The girl and her brother and sister were in Gregory's custody at the time.

She allegedly had the 6-year-old brother strike his sister as well, according to the original charges, which indicate the additional presence of a 7-year-old sister.

Eight wax folds containing heroin were found in a bedroom drawer when she was arrested.

The crimes were discovered due to an investigation by the Division of Child Protection and detectives from the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office Special Victims Unit.

A neighbor called saying they believed the girl would die if she stayed with Gregory, the affidavit states. Several people close to the case alleged that previous calls to help the girl went unanswered.

“There are so many witnesses who came forward in this case,” Assistant Prosecutor Erika Halayko said during Gregory's detention hearing in May 2021. “There were many, many statements regarding the harm that was done to this child.”

Gregory has remained free since that hearing.

She is not to have contact with the children or their biological mother, under the plea agreement.

Gregory previously was also told not to have contact with the neighbors, who were witnesses.

author

Lynda Cohen

Lynda Cohen founded BreakingAC after working as a local newspaper reporter for more than two decades. She is an NJPA award-winner and was a Stories of Atlantic City fellow.

Monday, April 15, 2024
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