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Long IslandCrime

Melville woman pleads guilty to harassing family of special-needs child, Ulster County District Attorney says

A Melville woman accused of using social media to threaten a special-needs child and her family has pleaded guilty to aggravated harassment as a hate crime, which is a felony, Ulster County District Attorney David J. Clegg confirmed on Wednesday.

Krista M. Sewell, 27, was arrested in November 2019 on charges including hate crime/aggravated harassment and aggravated harassment and stalking, State Police said.

"Sewell admitted to sending electronic messages and a letter to a local Ulster County family harassing and threatening their infant daughter who has the rare genetic skin condition harlequin ichthyosis," Clegg said in a statement.

The disorder causes infants to have thick diamond-shaped plates of skin with cracks in between that can sometimes pull on their face and restrict movement.

Cleg did not specify what motivated the harassment.

Police had said at the time of her arrest that she targeted the girl on Facebook, Instagram and GoFundMe pages set up by the victim’s family. She also sent threatening letters to the house.

Sewell was sentenced to five years’ probation along with a period of incarceration that was not specified. The court also barred her from any contact with the child, her family or any other individuals with the same condition, Clegg said.

Sewell must also register her social media accounts with the Probation Department and allow its officers to monitor her online activity "to prevent future harassing behavior," Clegg said.

The name of her attorney was not included in Clegg's statement.

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