West York woman pleads guilty to child endangerment

Christopher Dornblaser

A West York woman pleaded guilty to endangering a child last week after police say she admitted to taking drugs before attempting to breastfeed her baby.

Lauren A. Kritzberger, 25, of 1576 W. King St., pleaded guilty to child endangerment, possession of a controlled substance, possession of a small amount of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

She has been sentenced to five years of treatment, starting with the first 60 days in York County Prison, as well as two years probation concurrent with her treatment, by Judge Maria Musti Cook, York County District Attorney's Office spokesman Kyle King confirmed. She will get credit for time served since her imprisonment on March 1.

The incident: On Feb. 14, West York Police Officer Scott Musselman was sent to the apartment of Kritzberger and her baby's father, Christopher Snoots, for report of a cardiac arrest of a 1-week-old, according to police. Once at the home, Musselman noted the child was alive and awake but did not seem to be functioning normally, police said. An ambulance was sent to the home and took the child to the hospital.

While in the apartment, Musselman could smell a strong odor of marijuana and could see the apartment was in a "general state of disarray," according to police. He could see a marijuana grinder on the counter, along with a small amount of marijuana, a clear baggie with marijuana residue and a torn off baggie with powdery residue, documents state. Musselman said both parents seemed dazed and not completely coherent.

On the bedroom floor there was a marijuana pipe with marijuana in it inside a cardboard cereal bowl, police said. Next to that was a "snort spoon" with a white powdery residue on it, as well as a "dime bag" containing white powdery residue and a small pink rubber container that held a tan/white powdery substance, documents state.

Before leaving with the ambulance, Kritzberger admitted the items were hers and the white powdery substance was ecstasy, police allege.

Celebration: Snoot said he habitually smokes pot to calm his nerves and said he and Kritzberger agreed to take ecstasy, called Molly, "as a way to celebrate (their) recent birthdays and childbirth," documents state. The couple share a Feb. 8 birthday, documents state, and their daughter was born Feb. 6.

Snoots said he and Kritzberger took the ecstasy and smoked pot while their baby slept.

"(They) seemed to believe that because they didn't actively do it in the same room as (their baby) or while (the) infant was awake, it somehow made it more acceptable," Musselman wrote. "Kritzberger also admitted that once awake and before (calling) 911, she smoked marijuana a couple more times in the bathroom ... to calm herself down, as she was panicked about the condition of her child.

"She also has been attempting to breastfeed the child, which she admitted was not in the child's best interest because of her drug use," documents state.

The infant was admitted to York Hospital's neonatal intensive-care unit, where doctors preliminarily thought the baby had suffered a seizure but were unsure why, according to documents.

At the county's central booking unit, sheriff's deputies found a bag of pills in Kritzberger's bra, including 65 Lorazepam pills and 28 Adderall pills, documents allege.

Kritzberger also pleaded guilty to other drug and DUI related charges from January, being sentenced with an additional two years of probation, according to King.

Kritzberger's public defender, Bruce Blocher, could not be reached for comment Friday.

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