On November 18, 2016 Nataliia Karia of Minneapolis hung a 16-month-old boy enrolled in her daycare by a noose she made out of a pair of tights. She told a parent that was dropping off his child at the home that she had “done something bad,” and fled the scene. Karia ran over a man standing near his vehicle, then kept going and struck a bicyclist. The pedestrian was dragged a significant distance, police said, and suffered broken bones and scrapes. The bicyclist suffered a broken leg. A third person struck by Karia’s car, was driving toward downtown when her car was hit. The 16-month-old survived after the parent dropping off his child took the noose off the child’s neck.
Karia was sentenced by Judge Jay M. Quam on July 16, 2018 in Hennepin County.
She received a 10-year probationary sentence, with credit for the 20 months in jail. She also must follow court-ordered mental health treatment and electronic home monitoring for at least two months. She will live with her adult son but cannot have unsupervised contact with her daughters or other minors. Karia’s three other children are ages 2, 7 and 10, and child protection proceedings continue over her fitness as a parent.
In deciding against prison time, Quam agreed with the assessment by doctors that Karia was “a low risk” to reoffend. He called her actions “the perfect storm of factors unlikely to ever be repeated.” He said Karia’s “was one of the hardest cases I’ve ever had. … There are no easy answers here.”
Prosecutor Christina Warren pushed for a term of nearly 13 years, raising doubts that Karia could be properly supervised outside of prison and receive the care she needs to restore her mental health.
Warren wrote in a court filing that “instead of being the person most able and willing to protect [the boy] from harm, she … left him hanging by a noose around his neck in her basement.”
The defense argued for no further incarceration. It pointed to several ways that Karia has already been punished including her lengthy jail time, loss of her child-care career, parental time with her son and daughters, and a monetary loss topping $100,000.
Karia’s young adult son from a previous marriage, Denys, wrote a letter to the court alleging that his father was abusive to Karia over many years since he met her and married her through a Ukrainian agency. He wrote that he would “menace” her with a gun and commit other acts of physical abuse.
Denys wrote that he made audio recordings of the abusive and sometimes violent encounters with his father. He turned over four of those recordings to the court on behalf of his mother.
“Dangerous State of Justice” Executive Summary
Minnesota’s Decriminalization of Child Sexual Exploitation