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Knopps sentenced for running daycare without a license

By Staff | May 4, 2009


A 48-year-old Winnebago woman will serve time in jail for operating a day care center in her home without a license.

Melanie Knopps pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge in February.

In September, Knopps’ husband, Steven, was sentenced to 58 months in prison for sexually abusing a 7-year-old girl in their home while she baby sat.

According to a court complaint, the incident occurred in February 2008. Before Knopps was sentenced, the grandmother of the victim asked Judge Douglas Rich-ards to impose the maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.“She has never shown any remorse or contacted us at all,” the grandmother told Richards. “She chose to take children in her home. She put all the children in danger. My question is, ‘Where was she?’ Where was she when this was happening?”

She was referring to Steven Knopps’ previous conviction for criminal sexual conduct with a relative’s child in 1983.

Under state law, a daycare provider’s license can be denied for criminal offenses, including conviction of criminal sexual conduct. During the licensing process, a background check is conducted of all people in the home.

Richards sentenced Knopps to 90 days in the county jail, suspending all but 30 days. She will serve 20 days and was fined $580.

Knopps was placed on one year supervised probation and can work on the Sentence-to-Serve work crew to pay any financial obligations.

The grandmother says a pre-sentence investigation completed by the county’s probation office recommended the maximum sentence for Knopps.

“I’m just disappointed. That’s sad,” the grandmother says of the sentence. “I’m glad it’s over.”