HONOLULU (AP) – A 22-year-old Honolulu woman who police said tried to give her baby to authorities by pretending to find the girl on a beach pleaded no contest Thursday to filing a false police report.
Keala Simeona’s sentencing on the misdemeanor charge is scheduled for Jan. 16. The maximum penalty is a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
Police said Simeona reported finding an infant girl on east Honolulu’s Sandy Beach in April and took the baby to the hospital. They said they later determined Simeona is the baby’s mother.
Family Court, in confidential proceedings, was to decide whether to return the child to her family or whether parental rights should be terminated.
Simeona had told police she was parked at Sandy Beach late at night when she heard several people screaming. After the screaming stopped, she said, she walked toward the ocean and found the naked newborn and took her to a hospital.
Patricia McManaman, director of the state Department of Human Services, said at the time that the full-term, 8-pound baby had been born immediately before she was found. For a time, officials informally called her Baby Sandy.
Simeona told the judge Thursday that she works at a Jamba Juice and a movie theater. She stood next to her attorney and spoke softly, wearing black pants, a gray blouse and a colorful messenger bag slung over her shoulder.
Her attorney, Franklin Don Pacarro Jr., declined to comment outside the courtroom.
“She doesn’t want to be harassed,” Pacarro said as he ushered Simeona into a witness room. “She works two jobs.”
Simeona posted $250 bail after her arrest.
Pacarro said later that he plans to ask the judge for a deferral. If a deferral is granted, Simeona will have the opportunity to clear the charge from her record if she abides by certain court conditions.
Pacarro said a Family Court judge issued a gag order in the case, preventing him from discussing the baby.
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