STURGEON BAY – A Sturgeon Bay mother charged with giving her child nitrous oxide was sentenced to four years of probation in Door County Circuit Court Tuesday.
Katherine M. Johnson, 39, was arrested Jan. 18, 2017, after officers responded to a child neglect complaint and found more than 300 nitrous oxide canisters in the home. Johnson told the authorities she used the nitrous oxide while she meditated. Her 6-year-old child told authorities about inhaling the substance with Johnson on a daily basis.
The authorities also found the child was underweight, and there was no running water in the kitchen.
Johnson was charged with misdemeanor possession of nitrous oxide with intent to inhale, felony to distribute hazardous substance, felony delivery of nitrous oxide to a person under the age of 21, felony physical abuse of a child and misdemeanor child neglect.
At a plea hearing Jan. 1, 2018, Johnson pleaded no contest to the charges of distribution of a hazardous substance and giving nitrous oxide to someone under the age of 21. The remaining charges were dismissed but read into the court record.
During court Tuesday, Judge D. Todd Ehlers said Johnson was guilty on the two charges and they were “serious” offenses.
Before Ehlers sentenced Johnson, she told the court that she is working on her recovery and was “thankful” because the arrest got her the treatment she needs and her daughter is in a safe place.
“I can’t wrap my mind around what I did,” Johnson said. “I was in a crazy place.”
Ehlers said further counseling and therapy will help her to understand “how she got so low” to endanger her child. He ordered her to serve four years of probation for the two charges to be served concurrently.
The conditions of Johnson’s probation include absolute sobriety, not to be in any bars or establishments that sell alcohol, complete all assessments, counseling and programs, no contact with her child unless her probation agent indicates it is appropriate and follow all juvenile court orders. Six months of jail time was ordered and stayed pending Johnson’s adherence to all the conditions of probation.
Her child remains in foster care and Johnson is allowed limited supervised visits with the child.
Johnson is the wife of a Sturgeon Bay man convicted in 2015 of possessing child pornography.