Honolulu mom who lied about baby is sentenced

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Associated Press

Posted on January 16, 2014 at 6:05 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 16 at 6:06 PM

HONOLULU (AP) — A 22-year-old woman who tried to give her newborn to authorities by pretending to find the baby on a Hawaii beach kept her pregnancy a secret because she didn't want to disappoint her family, her attorney said.

Keala Simeona was sentenced Thursday for filing a false police report. She will have the opportunity to keep the misdemeanor off her record if she stays out of trouble for a year, defense attorney Franklin Don Pacarro Jr. said. Her sentence includes paying $55 to a criminal compensation fund and a $75 probation services fee; 25 hours of community service; and continued counseling.

Simeona reported finding an infant girl on east Honolulu's Sandy Beach in April and took the baby to the hospital, police said. Simeona had told police she was parked at the 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.

Police later determined Simeona is the mother and arrested her. She was released on $250 bail.

The full-term, 8-pound newborn was "abandoned immediately after birth," state Department of Human Services Director Patricia McManaman said at the time.

In November, Simeona pleaded no contest to filing a false police report.

Family Court, in confidential proceedings, was to decide whether to return the child to her family or whether parental rights should be terminated. Family Court has since returned the baby to Simeona, who also has another child, Pacarro said.

"We're very happy with the outcome," Pacarro said. "She was remorseful for putting everyone through all of this — the authorities, her family. She wants to move on and take care of her children.

"It's unfortunate, but at least it helped bring light to the Safe Haven law so that other people who are afraid and don't know how to express themselves to her family know about it."

Simeona could have taken advantage of Hawaii's Safe Haven law, which provides immunity from prosecution for leaving an unharmed newborn within 72 hours of birth at a fire department, police station or hospital or with emergency services.

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Follow Jennifer Sinco Kelleher at http://www.twitter.com/JenHapa .

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