Girl's Teeth So Decayed Her Life Was in Danger: Cops

But her dad wants to withdraw his guilty plea in the case
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2015 4:50 PM CDT
In this Aug. 19, 2014 photo, Kenneth Wanamaker Jr. walks to his preliminary hearing in Cherryville, Pa.   (Emily Paine/The Morning Call via AP)

(Newser) – Kenneth Wanamaker Jr.'s 6-year-old daughter's teeth were so infected last year that, police and a dentist say, her life was in danger. According to the dentist, who called it "frightening" and testified that it was "the worst case of dental disease" he'd ever seen, 16 of her 20 teeth either needed to be pulled, were abscessed, or were badly decayed in the root or the tooth after county caseworkers finally got involved. Wanamaker was charged and was set to go to trial soon, but last month, the 37-year-old Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty to recklessly endangering another person and false swearing and was sentenced to jail time and probation. But in a motion filed April 22, he claims he didn't understand the charges, and on Saturday, he said he didn't put his daughter at risk and that he will ask a judge this week to allow him to withdraw his guilty plea, the Morning Call reports.

"I never endangered my child's life," Wanamaker said. "I never neglected care for my child. That's not me." He says new evidence backs him up, showing that his daughter's tooth decay was not that bad. His April 22 motion also claims he was not given the right to effective assistance of counsel, because his lawyer didn't have enough time to get evidence and witnesses together. As the Morning Call reported last year, Wanamaker's partner, Jessica Hoffman, is also implicated in her daughter's ill health. The district attorney's office is also looking into the 2011 death of their 7-month-old son from pneumonia, and last year, there were also investigations into two stillborn babies born to the couple. When the second of those stillborn births occurred in December 2013, Hoffman tested positive for meth use, which led to her and Wanamaker being probed and ultimately charged in the dental neglect case; they were accused of ignoring caseworkers' requests to get their daughter care because they did not want to spend the money.

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