Ex-daycare provider pleads guilty

A former Marietta daycare provider pleaded guilty Wednesday in Washington County Common Pleas Court to trafficking in drugs, a fifth-degree felony.

In a voice barely audible, Deidra Fouss, 51, admitted to Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Randall Burnworth that she had sold drugs out of her 722 Fifth St. home, the same home at which she operated a daycare.

“You understand that you have the right to have your case considered by the grand jury?” asked Burnworth.

Fouss indicated that she understood, but chose instead to plead to a bill of information.

Fouss was arrested at her residence in December two months after selling 35 Vicodin pills to a confidential informant.

The informant told agents from the Major Crimes Task Force there had been at least three children in the house at the time of the purchase.

Though not employed by the Washington County Department of Job and Family Services, Fouss had been certified by them to provide daycare services to families who qualified for subsidized daycare. That certification was revoked shortly after her arrest.

If Fouss had not pleaded guilty, her case would have likely been presented to the grand jury as a third-degree felony, said Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Rings.

“The amount sold exceeded the bulk amount, which in this case is 30 pills. The confidential informant also indicated there were children inside which could have resulted in a third-degree felony,” he said.

Fouss has no prior felonies, said her attorney, Dennis Sipe.

“She would have never passed the background check if she had,” he said, referring to the background test she had taken to get her certification from Job and Family Services.

Fouss was also reluctant to sell the pills in the first place, said Sipe.

“The person sort of got her to sell them by begging and pleading and complaining about his back pain,” he said.

Fifth-degree felonies carry a maximum one-year prison sentence, but only for offenders who have prior felonies or who violate their bond.

“Barring some criminal activity the court is not aware of, the court is going to impose the agreed disposition when we come back here for sentencing,” said Burnworth.

The agreed disposition includes three years of community control, $140 restitution to the Major Crimes Task Force for the price of the buy, a $100 fine, 15 days in jail and a six-month drivers license suspension, said Rings.

Fouss is scheduled to be sentenced at 4:15 p.m. May 7.