A 22-year-old pregnant woman was sentenced Monday after she plead guilty to an indictment charging her with selling a food stamps benefit card with a 17-cent balance.
Shannon K. Routte was ordered to complete two years of community control and a Fayette Women’s Recovery Residential Program. She plead guilty to illegal use of supplemental nutrition or WIC program.
The Washington C.H. resident was indicted Sept. 11, 2015 after a fraud investigation alleged Routte sold her food stamp card to someone for $120. The purchaser attempted to buy food at a Kroger store but the card did not work. The card had a 17-cent balance.
Routte’s attorney, Susan R. Wollscheid, said during sentencing that Routte struggles with a drug addiction. Routte said she had previously been at Fayette Women’s Residential for treatment but that she had left.
“She did have an opportunity to go into rehab, however she found that overwhelming and she unfortunately left rehab. She would still like the opportunity to seek out services to help her with this drug problem and she was hoping to be able to continue a term of community control and prove herself to the court,” said Wollscheid.
Routte was arrested June 2 after she failed to appear for a hearing, violated the conditions of the pre-trial services bond, and her bond was revoked. She was held in the Fayette County Jail until sentencing June 13.
During court Monday, Routte said she is eight months pregnant and is due at the end of July or the beginning of August. Routte said she has three other kids who are being taken care of by other members of the family.
“Why’d you leave [Fayette Women’s Residential]?” said Judge Steven Beathard of the Fayette County Common Pleas Court.
“I honestly left so I could see my son,” said Routte.
“But then you got high,” said Beathard.
“I know,” said Routte.
Beathard asked her if she detoxed during the time she had been in jail.
“No. I mean I didn’t go through any withdrawals,” said Routte.
“Well we either keep her in jail—we have to keep you somewhere. You can walk away from Fayette Women’s again, and if you do, we just have to lock you up until the baby’s born,” said Beathard.
Beathard asked Routte what is going to happen to the baby she is currently pregnant with, because the Fayette Women’s Residential can’t have the baby there. Beathard said Routte will have to come back to finish the program.
Wollscheid said she believed Routte’s mother was willing to care for the baby while she finished the program.
“So you’re giving me your word you’re going to stick this out?” said Beathard.
“Yes,” said Routte.
“Because I would think—you have three other kids—you would be concerned about the best interest of this baby,” said Beathard.
“I am,” said Routte.
“You’re not showing that up to this point but I would just hope at some point that that kicks in—some maternal instinct kicks in—that you want to do the right thing. We’re placing you in a place, a residential place with … other women in the same situation, with the same addiction you have and we’re fortunate to have that place to put you. Otherwise we would have no place to put you but jail or prison. Now if I release you to Fayette Women’s Residential and if you walk away, and if you get high, you’ll be in the penitentiary next week,” said Beathard.
Reach Ashley at the Record-Herald (740) 313-0356 or on Twitter @ashbunton