On Wednesday, Douglas County District Judge Duane Dougherty sentenced Christopher Ewerdt, 39, and Cynthia Ewerdt, 37, to five years of probation
for child abuse for giving their 12-year-old daughter mushrooms.
Prosecutor Molly Keane said the couple had given the girl mushrooms three or four times
He called the couple's behavior "appalling." However, he said, he was relieved that Nebraska Health and Human Services will continue to oversee the child — and the interaction she has with her parents.
The Ewerdts faced up to five years of probation or up to 25 years in prison after pleading no contest to child abuse and possession of a controlled substance.
"This is wrongheaded thinking but it wasn't out of some sick need to see the child use drugs,"
Assistant Douglas County Public Defender Leslie Cavanaugh said. "It was out of the belief — a belief that Mr. Ewerdt is now mortified about — that it was some sort of spiritual awakening."
The couple were to be released from jail later Wednesday. Both were ordered to undergo treatment and family counseling as part of their probation.
"The crimes are appalling," Dougherty told Christopher Ewerdt. "I can't imagine that anyone would do this to their own children. However, I am given some comfort, quite a bit of comfort, that juvenile court has had an ongoing file for you and your wife. The overall goal being to solve your problems and your wife's problems."