Michelle Mingo has been in state custody for four years. She was allowed to go free.

BOSTON (AP) – A member of a religious sect whose self-described vision from God led to the starvation death of an infant pleaded guilty Tuesday to an accessory charge and was allowed to go free.

Michelle Mingo changed her plea at a hearing in Taunton Superior Court. She pleaded guilty to two counts of being an accessory before the fact to an assault and battery on a child.

A judge sentenced her to served concurrent 2-year terms on each count, but because she has already been in state custody for nearly four years she was allowed to go free.

Mingo, a member of a tiny religious sect known as “The Body,” was charged after her nephew, Samuel Robidoux, died of starvation three days before his first birthday in 1999. His body was found in Maine’s Baxter State Park.

Prosecutors said it was Mingo who started the chain of events that led to Samuel’s death when she told her brother, Jacques Robidoux, and sister-in-law, Karen Robidoux, that she had a vision from God about their son, Samuel.

As his parents followed the instructions given by Mingo, Samuel became weaker and weaker, and eventually died of starvation, after 51 days of receiving only small amounts of his mother’s breast milk. Karen Robidoux was pregnant at the time and was producing only trace amounts of milk, according to testimony at her trial.

In June 2002, Jacques Robidoux was convicted of first-degree murder in Samuel’s death and is now serving a life sentence.

Last week, a jury cleared Karen Robidoux of second-degree murder charges, but convicted her of assault and battery.

Because she had been in state custody for nearly three years, she was not required to serve any additional time.

AP-ES-02-10-04 1515EST



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