GREENE COUNTY, Mo. — Isabella resident Jennifer Engles pled guilty by Alford plea to endangering the welfare of a child during a Nov. 9 hearing before Judge Calvin Holden in Greene County.
The plea was in connection with allegations that she was present while her husband, Ernest “Dale” Engles, sexually abused a child younger than 12 between Sept. 1, 2010, and Aug. 31, 2011. Engles was sentenced to seven years in the Missouri Department of Corrections.
An additional charge of sexually trafficking a child younger than 12 was dismissed. Engles was represented by public defender John Zimmerman, and the state was represented by Howell County Prosecutor Michael Hutchings.
An Alford plea is a guilty plea where the defendant in a criminal case does not admit the criminal act and asserts innocence but believes there is enough evidence that a jury or judge would convict him or her.
The allegations in the case accuse Engles of having sex with men for money in view of the child, and at the same time, her husband Ernest “Dale” Engles engaged in sexual acts with the child. The alleged acts occurred at the Engles home in Brandsville; therefore, the charges were filed in Howell County before Circuit Judge David Paul Evans. The case was transferred to Greene County on a change of venue motion in February.
Ernest “Dale” Engles was found guilty by a Dent County jury on June 17 of statutory sodomy, two counts of child molestation and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child. He was sentenced to life in prison.