JoCo mom charged with endangering her baby after babysitter accidentally burns him

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Katherine O'Connor Courtesy: JohnsonCo. Courts

OLATHE, Kan. — A call into Ask-a-Nurse resulted in charges against a Johnson County mother for allegedly failing to get help for her baby in a timely manner.

Katherine O’Connor, 22, is charged with aggravated endangering a child and obstruction.

According to the affidavit prepared by Overland Park Police, O’Connor called Ask-A-Nurse on August 7, 2015, to report that her 19-month-old son had burns on his neck, chest and back. O’Connor told the nurse on the phone that her son was burned by a babysitter who accidentally spilled boiling water on the boy.

O’Connor said she didn’t call right away because she couldn’t afford the medicine, but told the nurse that the next day he was slow and stiff and the gauze was stuck to his skin.

The nurse told her to take him to the hospital and then called police to report the call.

Police went to O’Connor’s home, who told police she left her child in the care of a babysitter while she worked at her job delivering pizzas.

Police then went to the home of the babysitter, who confirmed that she tripped over the child while cooking and accidentally spilled boiling water on him.

Both the defendant and the babysitter said the babysitter sent O’Connor pictures of his blistering and peeling skin. The babysitter said she was under the impression that she could not take the child to the hospital without a signed note from his mother and also said that O’Connor did not instruct her to take him to the hospital.

The babysitter said O’Connor picked him up at 10:00 the next morning.  She said she had watched the child three other times at her home, but said on one recent occasion, O’Connor left the baby in her care for five days without providing clothing or diapers for him. She said she was unable to get in touch with O’Connor during that time. She told police that O’Connor was a pizza delivery driver but later said she wasn’t sure what the defendant was doing when she was watching the baby. She told police that O’Connor admitted that she had been in Colorado the day her child was burned, but asked the babysitter to tell police that she had been working.

When police questioned her about this, police say O’Connor insisted she was delivering pizzas for Papa John’s. However, police say they contacted two separate Papa John’s pizza businesses and both managers said she did not work at their stores.

Police say they obtained a search warrant for O’Connor’s cell phone and records revealed that the defendant’s cell phone was utilizing cell towers in Denver.

According to police, the child suffered burns over 13 percent of his body.  One witness who treated him said he was in significant pain and said the delay placed him at risk for dehydration, shock and infection.

“Based upon the significant delay in seeking medical care for (the child), she provided a diagnosis of medical neglect,” the affidavit said.

O’Connor’s next court date is March 3 at 1:30 p.m.