Laurie Ann Gregor, a former Shakopee day care provider, was sentenced in Scott County District Court Wednesday to 15 years in prison with the opportunity to serve five years on supervised probation for good behavior. She’ll also have to pay $39,000 in restitution.
Gregor was found guilty on July 25 of first-degree assault, malicious punishment of a child and malicious punishment of a child under the age of 4 for inflicting life-threatening injuries on a 6-month-old baby in September 2017 at her home day care.
Gregor claimed the child fell from a countertop and hit his head, and when Gregor noticed he was unconscious, she said she shook him. The child suffered from a fractured skull, bruised legs, brain bleeding and retinal hemorrhaging that medical professionals testified was not consistent with a typical household fall.
Gregor called 13 people before she dialed 911 when the child fell unconscious due to major head trauma, including a complete skull fracture — a fact Scott County District Judge Christian Wilton said struck him the most during the trial. The child fought for his life for more than an hour before receiving any medical attention.
“You thought of one person, and that was yourself,” Wilton said as he issued the sentencing Wednesday. He added the day of the incident, when the child was in the hospital, “intubated, needing help to breathe, with more wires than you could count,” Gregor was at the Shakopee Police Department, laughing and joking around with the detective.
“You looked (the detective) in the eye, over and over, and lied,” Wilton said. “You failed the McNallys, you failed as a day care provider, and most importantly, you failed as a human being.”
The child’s parents, Crystal and Brendan McNally, addressed the overflowing courtroom before the sentencing.
“Shame on us for thinking that people were like us; that people wouldn’t hurt our children,” Crystal McNally said, at times holding back tears. “(Gregor) made a lot of choices that morning, and not one of them was about my child… not one of them has been rooted in remorse. And not one of them has shown any ounce of compassion towards our family. Words are just words. Choices and actions are so much more.”
The McNallys also said their child will suffer the consequences of Gregor’s choices for the rest of his life. His vision will never be the same, and only time will tell how much his brain injury will impact his cognitive and mobile development, they said.
Gregor’s defense attorneys asked for Wilton to sentence Gregor with probation or, at the very most, the minimum sentence the state guideline requires without justification — 74 months.
State guidelines call for a maximum sentence of 106 months for the charges Gregor faced, unless the crime was especially offensive. Prosecuting attorneys asked Wilton to double the state’s maximum sentencing, meaning she would be in prison for 17 years.
“That will bring Nolan into his young adulthood,” Assistant Scott County Attorney Deb Lund said, adding that because the assault was committed in front of a young child at the day care, and Gregor was the trusted adult charged with caring for the child, there was justification to sentence her beyond state recommendations.
When Wilton announced the sentence, nobody gasped or held back sobs. Gregor, standing in her navy blue prison garb with bright orange shoes, did not make a sound. She was ushered out of the room quietly.
Gregor will serve her sentence at the Shakopee women’s correctional facility across from the elementary school the McNally’s children would have attended. They said they chose to move away from Shakopee after the incident because they didn’t want to run into Gregor or any of her family members around the community.
“We’re satisfied with the sentencing the judge handed down,” Scott County Attorney Ron Hocevar said. “There’s no winners here. You have the McNally family whose son has been irreparably harmed, and the Gregor family with lots of connections to the community who are harmed also. So there’s a lot of tragedy with this case, unfortunately.”
Defense attorneys could not be immediately reached for comment.