Woman pleads no contest to abuse charge

A Bracey woman pleaded no contest this week on a charge of child abuse after she and her newborn tested positive for cocaine use. Originally facing charges of cruelty, injure child, abuse of a child with disregard for life and abuse of child causing serious injury, Crystal Poythress Moody agreed to enter a plea of no contest to the Class 6 Felony charge of abuse of a child with disregard for life. The remaining two charges in the case were not prosecuted.

Appearing before Judge Leslie Osborn on Tuesday, Commonwealth’s Attorney Allen Nash told the court that had the case gone to trial, the Commonwealth was prepared to present evidence showing that Moody had given birth to a child at VCU-CMH in South Hill on January 13. A representative of the Department of Social Services was summoned to the scene after the newborn showed signs of drug withdrawal. Moody told the DSS case worker that she had used cocaine three days before giving birth to the child.

The child was subsequently transferred to MCV Medical Center in Richmond.

Nash added that warrants had been obtained for medical records and blood tests. Samples sent to the lab found signs of cocaine use.

According to doctors, the baby did appear to have cocaine in its system and showed symptoms that could be related to withdrawal.

The child’s medical records were admitted as evidence and sealed by the court.

The child, said Nash, remained at MCV for what he described as “a significant” amount of time and that while the child did not seem to have suffered any long term ill effects, the doctors would testify that the child appeared to have cocaine in its system and showed symptoms of withdrawal.

Defense attorney Charles Crowder told the court that his client had admitted use of cocaine three days before delivery, every indication from every doctor indicated that the child had suffered no injury or affect. He also pointed out that Moody was currently in a recovery program and, he said, doing amazingly well.

Judge Osborn accepted Moody’s plea and ordered a pre-sentence report due prior to final sentencing, which is scheduled for November 6.