MASON CITY, Iowa – A defendant’s motion to close a sentencing hearing after public outrage on social media about the dismissal of some sexual abuse charges has been denied.
According to court documents filed in Cerro Gordo County, Tawny Symonds’ motion to close the sentencing hearing, now scheduled for Feb. 12 at 10 a.m., was denied.
The 31-year-old woman from Wells, Minnesota, entered an Alford plea to one count of child endangerment after being accused of sexually abusing a child under the age of three. She had two counts of a Class B felony for sexual abuse and a Class C felony for assault dismissed.
Symonds had worked as an in-home daycare provider in Mason City.
An Alford plea means Symonds does not admit guilt but agrees she could be convicted and will accept sentence.