The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 4, 2012

Mom gets two years for giving pills to her kids

Staff Writer

JEFFERSON — An Ashtabula County woman has been sentenced to two years in prison for helping her husband give diluted prescription painkiller to their four young sons more than a year ago.

Sarah Kirk, 31, pleaded guilty weeks ago to four counts of en-dangering child-ren. She          was sentenced Thursday in the courtroom of Ashtabula County Common Pleas Court Judge Gary Yost. Kirk remains in Ashtabula County Jail pending arraignment on new drug-related charges

Margaret Draper, assistant county prosecutor, said Friday she had recommended a nine-month sentence, noting Kirk had no previous record. Also, Draper said she believed Kirk’s behavior was “instigated” by her husband, Lawrence Kirk, who is awaiting sentencing on identical charges.

The children have been removed “permanently” from the custody of their parents and placed with other relatives, Draper said.

In January 2011, police said Lawrence Kirk gave Oxycodone diluted in water to his four sons so he could collect their urine and pass it as his own at drug tests. Some physicians who prescribe power painkillers require periodic tests of some patients to make sure they are taking the pills and not selling them, police said at the time. Prosecutors alleged Sarah Kirk participated in the urine-switching scheme.

The children were ages 6 to 10 at the time of the offense, authorities have said.

Late last month Lawrence Kirk pleaded guilty to four charges of endangering children and is scheduled to be sentenced by Yost on March 20. A pre-sentence investigation is under way by the county’s probation department. The prosecutor’s office has recommended a three-year prison sentence. He faces between four and 20 years behind bars.

The use of Oxycodone and other opiates in Ashtabula County “has become an epidemic,” Draper said. “You can’t underestimate the seriousness of the situation,” she said.