By Jeanne LeFlore
A McAlester mother has been charged with perjury after investigators tied a welfare application to an investigation that led to a child abuse conviction against the father of one of her children.
Sarah Elizabeth Soelter, 31, of McAlester, was charged Oct. 9 in Pittsburg County District Court with perjury and false claims against the state for allegedly giving false information on an application for welfare benefits, court records state.
The case stems from a child abuse case filed last year in connection to Soelter’s then 4-month-old baby girl who was hospitalized May 5, 2012, with two broken legs and broken ribs, according to court records.
The baby’s father, Jimmy Lee Green Bolt III, 29, of McAlester, pleaded no contest Oct. 7 to child abuse charges in the case and was sentenced to 20 years in prison with all but seven years suspended, court records state.
During the investigation, police questioned Bolt about the baby’s injuries and he allegedly told police that he was changing the baby’s diaper on a changing table when the child fell, according a court affidavit filed in the case.
According to the affidavit, McAlester Police Sgt. Bobby Cox stated, “I have been to numerous trainings where I have learned that it is impossible for a child to fall from an approximately three-foot tall desk and break two femurs.”
Meanwhile, Soelter allegedly filed a voluntary statement with McAlester police investigating the abuse case on May 8. In the statement, Soelter allegedly said Bolt received temporary custody of the baby in March 2012 and she did not see the baby again until April 9, 2012, during a supervised visit with her two older children, according to an affidavit filed by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services Office of the Inspector General.
The affidavit states that after regaining custody of her two older children on April 27, 2012, Soelter told MPD investigators that when she tried to pick up the baby from Bolt’s residence on May 1, 2012, he refused to allow the baby go with her, the affidavit states.
Soelter then allegedly stated she didn’t see the baby again until officials informed her the child was injured on May 5, 2012, the affidavit states
The DHS investigators used her statement to McAlester police to allege she provided false information to obtain benefits she was not entitled to receive. She allegedly stated she had all three children living with her in an April 27, 2012, application for benefits, according to the affidavit.
A hearing is set in Soelter’s case for Oct. 25 at 9 a.m. If convicted, she faces up to two years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
Contact Jeanne LeFlore at email@example.com.