The Minneapolis woman who pleaded guilty to neglecting her children while their father physically and sexually abused them for years was sentenced Tuesday to five years’ probation.
Shelia M. Wilson, 49, apologized in court for her actions.
“I wish it never happened,” she said, according to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office. “I should have been a better mother.”
Wilson pleaded guilty last year to one count of felony criminal neglect in connection with the abuse of her twin daughters in what has been called the “house of horrors” case. Two other charges were dismissed.
Wilson’s husband, Jerry L. Curry, also pleaded guilty and was sentenced earlier this month to 30 years in prison for his crimes.
Curry, 53, regularly raped, beat and chained the couple’s twin daughters for days at a time without food. One victim’s ankle developed gangrene because the chains were too tight. He fathered children twice with one of the twins.
Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Cheri Townsend told the court Tuesday that the prosecution and defense were asking for a reduced sentence for Wilson because she cooperated in the investigation and was willing to testify against Curry.
The twins supported a lighter sentence because, they told investigators, their mother feared Curry, who abused her and once broke her arm.
“Ms. Wilson feels horrible about what happened to her daughters. The entire family has suffered tremendously,” said her attorney, Lucas Wilson. “My client is not a bad person. I chose to represent her because she was in a bad situation. Today’s sentencing allows the family to move forward on a new path.”
Hennepin County District Judge Fred Karasov’s sentence will require Wilson to serve four years in prison if she violates the terms of her probation.
The judge gave Wilson credit for 372 days she served in jail awaiting the resolution of her case, and released her from custody.
Wilson will be allowed to visit her children under supervision by adult and juvenile protective services.
Wilson’s older daughters attended the sentencing but left when their mother entered the courtroom in an orange jumpsuit, the county attorney’s office said.
“[The daughters] have been concerned throughout the proceedings that their mother has been in custody,” Townsend said.