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Forum staff reports, Published November 02 2012

Mom accused of toddler assault to plead guilty

MOORHEAD – A 25-year-old mother charged with assaulting her 2-year-old daughter plans on pleading guilty to a felony count of malicious punishment of a child, a prosecutor said.

Nicole Amber Rheault was charged in late July with third-degree assault and malicious punishment of a child after police allege she assaulted her daughter for up to 10 minutes after the daughter broke her mother’s cigarettes and lost her car keys.

Assistant Clay County Attorney Heidi Davies said Rheault plans on pleading guilty to the one felony, but that could still change before her plea hearing Nov. 14.

Rheault was also charged with child neglect, a gross misdemeanor.

The plea is a part of a joint agreement between the prosecution and the defense, Davies said. She would not give any other details about the plea before the hearing because Rheault could still change her plea, pushing a jury trial, she said.

Rheault originally pleaded not guilty to all three charges on Sept. 17, court records show.

She told investigators that she was high on methamphetamine at the time of the alleged assault and doesn’t remember what happened.