court gavel

LIGONIER — An Armagh-area woman on Friday agreed to face possible trial in Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court on accusations that she let a toddler inhale vapors from an e-cigarette in January near Seward.

Berkley Sutton, of East Wheatfield Township, waived her right to a preliminary hearing on one count of endangering the welfare of children at an appearance in Ligonier District Court.

District Judge Denise Thiel allowed Sutton, 18, to remain free on recognizance while she awaits court action on the charge.

State police at Indiana brought the charge after the online circulation of a video recording that showed a youngster puffing on a Juul smoking device in a bedroom at the child’s home in St. Clair Township.

Investigators reported that Sutton and a 17-year-old girl, who was responsible for the child as his babysitter, could be heard laughing as the little boy smoked the device. The recording was made between 5 and 8 p.m. Jan. 9, according to Trooper Laken Morris.

While the teens watched, Morris wrote, the child took a Juul smoking device from a dresser in a bedroom, “put it to (his) mouth and attempted to inhale. The (redacted) juvenile victim then sits on the floor and puts the Juul to (his) mouth a second time and this time inhales.”

The device contained nicotine, according to the complaint.

“(Sutton) failed to intervene, encouraged this act, videotaped the same via (redacted) and were seen laughing at the juvenile victim, resulting in an endangerment of the child’s well-being,” Morris wrote.

The endangerment count filed Jan. 31 against Sutton is a third-degree felony.

Any charges filed against the 17-year-old babysitter and related court action have not been made public.