West York dad's child-endangerment charge dropped
The father of a newborn hospitalized after police found drugs and drug paraphernalia strewn about her parents' West York home has avoided prison.
Christopher R. Snoots, 25, pleaded guilty Wednesday in York County Court to the third-degree misdemeanor of disorderly conduct as part of a negotiated plea agreement, according to court records.
In exchange for his plea, charges of child endangerment, possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia were dropped, records state.
He was sentenced to a year of probation and ordered to pay court costs.
Any contact he has with his baby daughter must be determined by a family-court judge, his case file notes.
Defense attorney George Margetas, who represented Snoots, said the baby is fine and living with a family member.
Parenting classes: Child caseworkers are working toward allowing Snoots supervised visitation with his baby daughter, the attorney said.
"He's done everything that's been asked of him ... before I was even involved," Margetas said, including taking parenting classes. "Of course he never wants to put his child (in danger)."
Margetas said his client maintains it's the baby's mother, Lauren A. Kritzberger, who brought the drugs into their home and used them.
"Mr. Snoots is contending he never had a drug problem," the attorney said.
Kritzberger, 25, now of the Dover area, pleaded guilty April 7 to child endangerment, possession of a controlled substance, possession of pot and possession of drug paraphernalia.
She was sentenced to five years of intensive probation, with the first 60 days in York County Prison, followed by inpatient treatment at an addiction rehabilitation hospital, records state.
Contact with her baby will be determined by the York County Office of Children, Youth and Families, according to court records.
The background: West York Police and an ambulance were called to the couple's former home in the 1500 block of West King Street about 8:15 a.m. Feb. 14 for a report of a 1-week-old child in cardiac arrest.
The infant was conscious when the officer arrived, but something didn't seem right with the baby, and she was taken by ambulance to York Hospital, police said.
"While on scene, I could smell a strong odor of marijuana inside (the) apartment and observed that the apartment was in a general state of disarray, unorganized and convincingly unfit for a newborn," West York Police Officer Scott Musselman wrote. "I also noted that throughout my brief interaction with both parents, they seemed dazed and not completely coherent."
The officer also noted in documents that he found a marijuana grinder with some pot in it, a baggie with pot residue and a torn baggie with white powdery residue, at which point he scanned the apartment "to determine if, in fact, an offense had occurred which led to the infant's current condition."
On the bedroom floor, he spotted a cardboard cereal box with pot and a pot pipe in it, and next to it he saw an X-acto knife and a metal snorting spoon with white powdery residue on it, according to documents. Musselman wrote that he also spotted a pink container with powder in it.
Kritzberger admitted the drug-related items were hers and that the pink container held ecstasy, documents allege.
She also admitted she tried to breastfeed her baby despite her drug use, court documents state.
Celebrating: Police said the couple took ecstasy, called Molly, "as a way to celebrate (their) recent birthdays and childbirth" while their baby slept, documents state. The couple share a Feb. 8 birthday; their daughter was born Feb. 6.
"(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."
The infant was admitted to York Hospital's neonatal intensive-care unit, where doctors initially 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 state.
Asking for help: Overwhelmed parents can call The Lehman Center at 400 W. Market St. in York City day or night for emergency respite care for children under 7, or to learn about the many other services offered to parents and caregivers by the center.
Reach The Lehman Center, which is part of the Children's Aid Society, by calling (800) 635-6619 or (717) 845-5771, or online at www.cassd.org/lehman-center. The center is available 24 hours a day to help parents in crisis.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.