The Irish mother caught on surveillance cameras beating her four-year-old daughter in a department store car park said today that none of her three children have ever been abused before.
“People might think I’m a monster, but I’ve been a mother for six years, and no harm has come to my children before this, never,” said Madelyne Gorman Toogood .
“I’m sorry,” she said. “That’s all I can say.”
She said she is an Irish traveller who moves from place to place looking for work.
Toogood, 25, was charged in Mishawaka, Indiana, with battery to a child, which carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison. She planned to plead innocent at her arraignment today, said here lawyer Steven Rosen.
“When you don’t know the evidence you enter a formality plea of not guilty,” he added.
Toogood’s daughter has been in foster care since she was taken by authorities Saturday when the woman turned herself in. Toogood also was to appear at a custody hearing today. Rosen said Toogood would have a chance for a supervised visit tomorrow.
Her two young sons are staying with family.
Toogood said she hit her daughter, Martha, in the head and back and pulled her hair - but did not punch her.
On a surveillance video-tape of the September 13 incident, which has been televised nationally, Toogood appears to make punching motions toward her daughter, who is mostly hidden within the sport utility vehicle.
Authorities said the girl had no visible injuries.
Authorities said Toogood left the Kohl’s department store in northern Indiana angry because she was denied a cash refund for two pairs of jeans; she denied that the failed refund attempt was connected to the beating.
Rosen said he believed the hitting took place because Martha misbehaved in the store, taking toys out of packages and wandering away, prompting store employees to page Toogood twice.