Oswego Judge Kim Seager allows child to return to neglectful teen mom

Melissa Nichols home at 297 West 5th Street

An alleged case of child endangerment in the city of Oswego is sure to fuel further criticism of Family Court Judge Kim Seager.

CNYCentralâ??s Jim Kenyon has learned that on May 28, 19-year-old Melissa Nichols was charged with child endangerment after she allegedly left her 3-year-old daughter unattended for up to 10 minutes.

According to court documents, Nicholsâ??s daughter was able to leave the home at 297 West 5th Street and walk a block and a half away during a storm wearing nothing but a t-shirt.

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Nichols has faced similar charges before. In July 2010, Fulton Police accused Nichols, then 17-years-old, of subjecting her child to living in squalor. Police said Nichols had burned the child with a cigarette and that the child often went days without eating.

Sources familiar with the case tell CNYCentral that the child, then 19-months old, was placed in foster care for 17 months before Judge Kim Seager returned the child to her motherâ??s custody.

The source also tells Kenyon that after the charge was lodged against her last month, the child was again placed in foster care. Judge Seager again returned the child to Nichols over the objections of the Oswego County Department of Social Services.

As we reported in February, Oswego County Legislators have lodged a formal complaint against Judge Seager. Lawmakers were concerned that her rulings were putting children in danger.

Lawmakers cited several incidents in which Judge Seager took children out of foster care and placed them in what lawmakers considered dangerous living conditions.

The County Administrator, Phil Church, says that lawmakers and county officials have had two meetings with Chief Administrative Judge James Tormey in January and February. They are in the process of arranging another meeting with the Unified Court System.

We contacted Judge Seagerâ??s chambers in Oswego. Her court attorney, Karen Brandt, told Kenyon that, "Technical rules prevent her from discussing any cases."

Nichols is due in court in June 28 to answer the charges.