Mother sentenced for giving toddler bong hit

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CENTRALIA, Wash. - “Guilty.”  That's how 24-year-old Rachelle Braaten responded to a Lewis County judge who asked if she was responsible for giving her 22-month-old son a hit of marijuana off of her bong.

The incident, which took place when a group of people were smoking marijuana inside a Centralia home, was captured on cellphone video which someone turned over to Centralia police in March.

"This appears to be a party stunt gone wrong and it was stupid, and to some degree endangered a very small child,” Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Shane O'Rourke told KIRO 7.

While in court Friday, O'Rourke told the judge that anyone who watches the video could conclude Braaten needs to work on her parenting skills.

 "I think this was really a foolish decision on her part, perhaps partially due to her youth or perhaps due to peer pressure.  It was just dumb,” O'Rourke told the judge.

Superior Court Judge James Lawler offered Braaten a chance to explain her actions, but she declined the opportunity.

The judge then sentenced Braaten to six months in jail and is also requiring her to take parenting classes which he urged her to view as an opportunity, not a punishment.

"You'll be a much better mother and you'll be able to protect your child and be with your child,” Judge Lawler told Braaten.