Judge Rejects Guilty Plea in Casper Vulnerable Adult Abuse Case
A Natrona County District Court judge rejected a guilty plea from a woman who allegedly verbally and physically abused a man with multiple sclerosis.
Jayme L. Bauer had reached an agreement with prosecutors prior to a scheduled change of plea hearing in Natrona County District Court Thursday morning. She was set to plead guilty to abuse of a vulnerable adult in exchange for a misdemeanor domestic violence charge being dropped.
Bauer's attorney, Marty Scott, said she was prepared to enter a guilty plea Thursday morning.
As a part of the standard process, District Court Judge Catherine Wilking asked Bauer if she knowingly and unlawfully abused the victim. Bauer said no.
"That's the God-honest truth," Bauer said.
"It seems we have a problem with the factual basis, counsel," Wilking said to Scott, referring to the guilty plea procedure.
After briefly conferring with Scott, Bauer admitted to hitting the victim but said she did not hit him "very hard." Scott requested that Wilking take an affidavit of probable cause related to the case into account.
There was a "significant problem" with accepting Bauer's guilty plea, Wilking said, because Bauer was pleading guilty to a crime without admitting to the alleged actions in the case.
Wilking then denied the guilty plea and put the case back on a trial schedule.
In the original deal, Bauer had agreed to plead guilty to the felony charge of abuse of a vulnerable adult. She likely would have served a suspended prison sentence. The length of that sentence would have been at Wilking's discretion.
According to an affidavit of probable cause filed in the case, police were called to a home in Casper on Jan. 23. When they arrived, the observed the victim lying on the ground.
A care provider gave officers several incident reports detailing incidents in which Bauer allegedly grabbed the victim by his hair in order to make him stand up straight.
Bauer also yelled at the victim to, "Just [expletive] crawl on the floor," the affidavit alleges.
Assistant Natrona County District Attorney Mike Schafer said he entered into the proposed agreement because of Bauer's lack of criminal history. The victim doesn't believe he's a victim, Schafer said, and the alleged incident came from frustration.
Bauer could face up to 10 years behind bars if she's convicted.