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Woodstock woman pleads guilty to running unlicensed day care

Published: Thursday, April 18, 2013 4:50 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, April 18, 2013 11:55 p.m. CDT

WOODSTOCK – A Woodstock woman pleaded guilty to operating an unlicensed day care and phone harassment in exchange for prosecutors dropping several charges of child endangerment.

Annette Zender was sentenced Thursday by McHenry County Judge Gordon Graham to two years of probation and a $500 fine.

Zender, who ran a day care from her home of 15704 N. Route 14, was first arrested in 2012 after a 5-year-old boy was injured while in her care.

Authorities have said Zender would provide care for up to 12 children under the age of 6. Operating an unlicensed day care is a Class A misdemeanor.

Police said they observed three unfenced ponds and large farming equipment, including a field mower, on her property and said the items were a threat to the children.

But Zender long has maintained the property is a child’s paradise and called herself an advocate for low-income or single mothers.

Zender initially was charged with harassing a witness for calling the injured boy’s mother to speak to the media on her behalf. The Class 2 felony charge later was reduced to phone harassment, a Class B misdemeanor.

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