Jury finds former daycare workers Simpson, Morgan guilty of criminal abuse

A jury has found the two former First United Methodist Church daycare workers guilty on multiple, varying degrees of criminal child abuse following a lengthy deliberation at trial Thursday.

The jury deliberated for approximately five hours Thursday after closing arguments were held in the morning, and Judge John Atkins began reading the verdicts, which included guilty on 12 counts of first-degree criminal child abuse, three counts of second-degree child abuse and 12 counts of third-degree criminal child abuse against Allison Simpson.

The jury also found Nina Morgan guilty for one count of third-degree criminal child abuse, which is a misdemeanor. Morgan was found not-guilty one a second count, while Simpson was found not-guilty on three counts.

The jury elected to move forward with the sentencing phase in the morning instead of continuing into the night, as Judge Atkins says that phase will include more instruction and deliberation.

The jury will reconvene at 10 a.m. Friday morning to decide a sentence. Former daycare director Abby Leach and former pastor Paige Williams are scheduled to go to trial in August for allegedly breaching their duties to protect the children.

Nina Morgan