Fromm sentenced to 60 days in jail

NEW ULM — A 33-year-old rural Sleepy Eye woman convicted of four gross misdemeanor charges after a two-day bench trial in June was sentenced to 60 days in jail. She was also ordered to have no contact with her three stepchildren in Brown County District Court Monday.

Stephanie A. Fromm was found guilty of three counts of malicious punishment of a child and contributing to the need for protection or services June 12. She was acquitted of two felony second-degree counts of assault with a dangerous weapon. A felony threats of violence charge was dismissed.

“It was an emotional sentencing,” said Assistant Brown County Attorney Dan Kalk. “The trauma that Ms. Fromm forced upon those children is almost unspeakable. She treated them with contempt and cruelty. They are strong and brave children. I have little doubt they will recover in time. Even in jail, Ms. Fromm will be given a bed to sleep on, which is better treatment than she provided to those children. The only good news in all this is that those children are safe now.”

Victim impact statements were received by the court but were not read in open court, making them confidential.

Last fall, Fromm was accused of making her three stepchildren sleep on a concrete basement floor and chasing them around a farmyard in her vehicle.

In June, Brown County District Court Judge Robert Docherty ruled on the case after reviewing a video from Fromm’s home surveillance system that included Fromm driving a sport utility vehicle around the farm yard and one young child racing away from the vehicle when it pulled close to a shop building.

The case began last fall when Fromm’s nine-year-old stepdaughter told a friend at Springfield Public School that her father (Andy Fromm) punched her. The child’s friend told school officials about the incident before Brown County officials were notified.

The children, ages 9, 12 and 13, were interviewed by a Brown County Family Services Child Protection worker and a Brown County Sheriff’s Office investigator. The children told investigators they were abused. They were removed from the Fromm home and relocated with their birth mother.

On Monday, Stephanie Fromm was fined $1,185. She was given Huber (work release) privileges if appropriate for a 365 day jail sentence, 305 days stayed for two years supervised probation. She was ordered to continue mental health therapy with Sioux Trails Mental Health Center until all goals are deemed satisfied. Therapy must include an anger management plan if not already implemented.

She was ordered to complete a parenting class, follow any recommendations, have no acts of violence or display any threatening, harassing or intimidating behavior.

Andy Fromm was sentenced to 60 days in jail July 15 in Brown County District Court. He may serve jail time on work release and may serve 15 days of his jail time on the Sentenced to Serve program that allows inmates to work on community projects. He was ordered to have no direct or indirect contact with the victims, may have phone contact if initiated by the victims and must complete a diagnostic mental health assessment and anger management program.

Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com.