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Danville woman accused of starving stepsons pleads guilty to lesser charges

DANVILLE — A woman accused of starving two of her three stepsons pleaded guilty Thursday to amended charges.

Virginia Holsinger, 27, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree criminal abuse, a felony punishable by one to five years in prison.

She will not serve jail time, but she must meet the terms of a pre-trial diversion program, which includes performing 40 hours of community service for each of the next five years.

If she successfully completes the diversion, she could later ask a judge to expunge the charges from her record.

Holsinger, who is free on bond, had no comment as she left the Boyle County Courthouse.

Special Judge Robert Overstreet scheduled final sentencing for June 2 in Boyle Circuit Court.

Virginia Holsinger and her husband, Charles Holsinger, 32, the boys' biological father, were arrested in June after police and a doctor found two brothers, ages 9 and 12, to be malnourished.

The Holsingers were charged with and later indicted on two counts each of first-degree criminal abuse, a class C felony punishable by five to 10 years in prison.

No charges were brought in relation to a 13-year-old boy because his age-to-weight ratio did not warrant them, police said.

The children were placed in foster care by the state and have gained weight since their removal from the Holsingers' Seminole Drive home, according to a letter written by a social services clinician included in the court file.

The children suffered brain damage from temporary lack of oxygen after a car accident in which the vehicle was submerged under water, said assistant public advocate Susanne McCollough. She offered another explanation for their weight loss.

"In my opinion, they were overprescribed Adderall" for attention deficit disorder, McCollough said. "A side effect of Adderall is to suppress the appetite, so the minute they were removed from the home and taken off Adderall, they have began increasing their weight again."

Charles Holsinger was scheduled to enter a change of plea Thursday, too, but that was scratched after public defender Melissa Bellew learned that he has a prior felony conviction in another state. That means he is ineligible for diversion, and Bellew must renegotiate a new plea deal with the prosecutor.

The next court appearance for Charles Holsinger is May 7. He was released from the Boyle County jail Thursday after Judge Overstreet lowered his bond to $500 cash.