A Middletown woman is facing felony charges for smoking marijuana with and giving pills to her boyfriend’s 11-year-old daughter, police said Wednesday.
Hollie Senteney, 23, has been charged with corrupting another with drugs, a fourth-degree felony, and child endangering, a first-degree misdemeanor, according to police. She is scheduled to appear in Middletown Municipal Court for a preliminary hearing at 2:30 p.m. on July 23, according to court records.
The 11-year-old girl was “crying and upset” when she told officers Senteney gave her yellow pills and a “rolled up green substance and had her smoke it with her,” according to a Middletown police report.
“They were sharing the marijuana, so she didn’t smoke the entire joint,” said Middletown police Lt. Scott Reeve. “I’m not sure how much of it she did smoke.”
Police said Senteney is the girlfriend of the 11-year-old girl’s father. Senteney has been arrested by police before, according to court records. In September 2013, she pleaded guilty to attempted drug abuse methamphetamine and attempted drug abuse Xanax.
Reeve said it’s “really disturbing for an 11-year-old to be introduced to drugs by someone she’s supposed to trust and have faith in.”
“We don’t want children to grow up in this type of environment where they’re introduced to drugs at such a young ages by someone that’s a caregiver,” he said.
The 11-year-old’s godmother first reported the incident, which occurred in the 1300 block of First Avenue, to police on Sunday, according to the police report.
Police said the investigation remains open.
“We are still looking into everything that occurred that day as far as usage of marijuana,” Reeve said.
Jackie Phillips, Middletown’s health commissioner, said using marijuana before age 16 may “increase the risks of serious psychiatric disorders that you see later on in early adulthood.” She worries the 11-year-old could be negatively impacted by the drugs since most people’s brains are not fully developed until age 25.
“Research shows the earlier any kind of toxins are introduced to children, it’s severe because they do have a brain that’s still developing,” Phillips said. “You’re not making good decisions if your mind is altered.”
Children exposed to drugs and other “risky behaviors” at an early age have a tendency to make poor decisions as teens and adults that can lead to “DUIs and unprotected sex,” Phillips said.
“What kind of environment is that child in?” she said. “That’s what concerns me the most, because if she’s around that, allowing her to do that, what else do they allow her to do?”