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Mother admits abusing children, pets

Sharon McDonough faces sentencing to a two-year maximum term on March 28. Sharon McDonough faces sentencing to a two-year maximum term on March 28. (Associated Press/File 2009)
Associated Press / February 25, 2011

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RIVERHEAD, N.Y. — A woman tearfully admitted yesterday that she abused her children and dozens of pets, sometimes torturing dogs and cats to death in the presence of six young daughters in a home that her adult son described as “a concentration camp for the animals.’’

Sharon McDonough, 44, pleaded guilty to a 13-count indictment charging her with animal abuse and child endangerment.

Suffolk County Court Judge C. Randall Hinrichs said he would sentence McDonough on March 28 to a two-year maximum term. McDonough has been held on $100,000 bail since her arrest in December 2009; the time she has served will count toward her sentence and she is expected to be freed in April or May.

Court-appointed defense attorney Christopher Brocato said McDonough pleaded guilty to all the charges to save her children from having to testify at her trial.

Her six daughters, all younger than 13 when McDonough was arrested, are in the custody of Family Court.

The children were not only abused, but were forced to witness the deaths of family pets.

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