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Woman Accused Of Child Abuse For Drinking Gives Birth To Healthy Baby

June 16, 1990

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) _ A woman who was cleared of child-abuse charges that alleged she drank too much while pregnant has given birth to an apparently healthy boy, a doctor said.

Diane Pfannenstiel had her baby Thursday evening, said Dr. Katherine Kohler, an obstetrician here.

″He’s a beautiful, healthy 7-pound boy,″ Kohler said. ″As far as anyone can identify, he seems to have no problems. The mother is also doing well. We are all very pleased.″

Pfannenstiel, 29, was about four months pregnant when she was arrested Jan. 4, two months after another judge ordered her to remain alcohol-free.

A test revealed she had a blood alcohol level of just over 0.1 percent, the level at which a person is considered intoxicated under state law.

Albany County Attorney Cal Rerucha said he filed the child-abuse charge to protect Pfannenstiel’s unborn children from suffering an ailment such as fetal alcohol syndrome.

But Judge Robert Denhardt dismissed the complaint, saying the state did not produce probable cause that her fetus had been injured.

The defense never presented witnesses, winning the dismissal after the state closed its case.

Pfannenstiel’s attorney, Mary Elizabeth Galvan, said the birth in effect vindicates her client.

″If prosecutors had their way, she’d (have) had this baby in jail,″ she said.

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