BOWLING GREEN—Barbara Ann Jeter of Bowling Green pleaded guilty on Wednesday to three counts of child endangerment and three counts of child neglect.
Caroline Circuit Court Judge Patricia Kelly gave her a sentence of 30 years with 28 suspended. She will serve an active sentence of two years within a Virginia correctional facility.
Jeter had run a babysitting business out of her home in Caroline County, when several allegations of sexual abuse had been made against her son, Vivian C. Jeter of Bowling Green, in connection with the children Jeter had in her care at the time.
Vivian Jeter is serving a 20-year sentence. Jeter was responsible for watching the little girls, then between ages 6 and 8, as well as several other young children.
When the first victim came to Jeter and told her what was happening, Jeter told the girl, “You will never see your mother again if you tell anybody.” This occurred in 1991.
The abuse of this victim continued until she had reached age 12, and that’s when she refused to go back to Jeter’s home. When a second victim and her sister, also a victim, came to Jeter for help she told them, “I will see to it that you never see your family again, if you tell anyone.”
Another young man, who had drowned due to an unrelated incident, had also come forward as a victim of Jeter’s son.
All of the abuse suffered by the victims occurred in Jeter’s home. When asked what sort of punishment Jeter gave her son, she recounted that she had “slapped his wrist.”
During the summary of evidence given by Deputy Commonwealth Attorney Diane Abato, several of the victims, now adults, came forward to testify as to the impact these events have had upon their lives. The victims recounted suffering from “low self-esteem,” the inability to “trust anyone,” especially around their own children.
One of the victims who took the witness stand looked at Jeter and said, “You should have protected us, but you didn’t.” She added that while she accepted the plea deal, she did not think it was enough. “I got a life sentence. She gets two years in a jail cell and gets to go home.”
When asked if she had any comments, Jeter told the court, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have let it happen, but I’m sorry.”
The conditions of her suspended sentence include having no further contact with the victims, no unsupervised contact with any minor, keeping the peace, giving a sample of DNA for analysis, paying restitution to one of the victims in the amount of $4,000, and paying all court costs within 12 months of her release.