Jury convicts Juneau mother of child endangerment

A Juneau jury on Tuesday convicted a 33-year-old local mother of child endangerment for knowingly leaving her children in the care of her boyfriend — a convicted sex offender.

The jury found Mary Chessica Hauge guilty on eight felony counts of child endangerment following a seven-day trial in Juneau Superior Court.

Prosecutors said Hauge shares two young daughters with Jonathan A. Hayward, 45, who was convicted in 2000 for sexually abusing his biological daughter from a former marriage. In that case, prosecutors said Hayward tried to rape his first daughter when he was 29 years old and she was 4. Last year, Hayward was sentenced to life in prison for raping the children he shares with Hauge, who were ages 1 and 5 when the abuse began. A week after Hayward’s sentencing, prosecutors turned their attention to the mother of the abused children.

“She never asked, ‘How’s my daughter? How many times did it happen? Where was I when it happened?’” Assistant District Attorney Angie Kemp said of Hauge during closing arguments in court Tuesday. “She didn’t need to ask because she knew.”

During testimony at trial, Hauge testified that she did not have reason to believe Hayward would abuse their children; she thought he was reformed and had already “learned his lesson.”

During cross-examination, prosecutors brought up the point that Hauge previously told investigators about conversations with different people over time in which she either expressed concern for her children or the other person did.

Hauge said she could not recall any such conversation.

Although Hauge denied knowing about her children’s abuse and details behind Hayward’s past offenses, Kemp said it was not the state’s job to prove the defendant knew about each incident. The state only needed to prove Hauge was reckless and put her children at risk when she left them in the care of a man Hauge knew at one point sexually abused another child.

Kemp asked the jury to not only consider what Hauge testified to, but what she won’t acknowledge.

“Part of the jury’s job is to decide who’s credible,” Kemp said in an interview with the Empire Friday.

The case against Hayward and then Hauge came to light in 2014 when one of the girls made a spontaneous disclosure about the abuse to a medical provider. Police later seized videos that Hayward filmed of the abuse, which prosecutors entered into evidence at Hauge’s trial. The jury did not have to view the videos but they heard the audio — Kemp played it for a witness on the stand (a computer forensic examiner from Anchorage), who then described for the jury what she was watching as it played.

Hauge is scheduled to be sentenced in late June.

Each of the eight felony counts Hauge was convicted of can carry up to five years in prison. That means in theory, she could be facing a 40-year prison sentence.

• Contact reporter Paula Ann Solis at 523-2272 or paula.solis@juneauempire.com.

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