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Central Point woman gets jail, probation for babysitting head injury

A Central Point woman will serve 15 days in jail for her role in a babysitting injury that left a former Ashland police officer’s child without sight in one eye, but she has a chance to avoid prison.

Janell Leah Burns, 48, was sentenced Friday in Jackson County Circuit Court to 15 days in jail, 120 hours of community service and five years of probation after pleading guilty to a felony charge of first-degree criminal mistreatment, admitting that in 2017 she left a toddler unattended “for a period of time that was likely to endanger the health and welfare” of the child.

The case was prosecuted by the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office because the then-14-month-old’s father, Aaron Rosas, is a former Ashland police detective.

On May 16, 2017, the child was rushed to Rogue Regional Medical Center and placed on a ventilator after suffering a severe head injury that caused internal bleeding, according to court documents. From the hospital in Medford, the child was airlifted to Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, and treated for 10 days for brain swelling and seizures.

Burns’ insurance company in 2017 settled with the Rosas family for $505,000 — the policy’s maximum limit.

Filings show that from that payout $51,300 went to lawyer fees and costs, $115,125.43 went to the city of Ashland for reimbursement of health insurance paid, $10,000 went to Mercy Flights and more than $4,300 has gone to the child’s medical expenses.

Other portions of the fund are in investment accounts to accommodate the child’s future needs.

Rosas said earlier this year that his now 5-year-old daughter is “doing well” developmentally, but the child is permanently blind in one eye.

An earlier plea change hearing was nixed Feb. 26 after Rosas, with the aid of crime victim’s rights lawyer Erin Olson of Portland filed a 10-page objection to a negotiated probation-only sentence. The Rosas family’s objection prompted Jackson County Circuit Court Judge David Orr to refuse to preside over the hearing, stating on the record that he “can’t come to the conclusion this is the proper way forward.”

Burns’ defense lawyer, Christine Herbert, later sought a different judge. Friday’s hearing was presided over by retired Coos County Judge Richard L. Barron.

Barron required Burns to report to jail June 4. If Burns violates any terms of her probation, she risks a prison sentence ranging from 34 to 36 months.

Under terms of the plea agreement, a felony charge of first-degree assault and two misdemeanor counts of fourth-degree assault were dropped.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.