A Nebraska mother pleaded guilty on Friday to giving her 17-year-old daughter pills for an abortion last year and to helping her dispose of the 29-week-old fetus.
Jessica Burgess, 42, in a plea agreement admitted providing an abortion to her daughter Celeste after 20 weeks of pregnancy, false reporting, and tampering with human remains, according to the Associated Press. Two of the charges are felonies, one is a misdemeanor.
Burgess last August pleaded not guilty to five criminal charges. As part of the plea agreement, the State of Nebraska dropped two of them: concealing the death of a person, and abortion by a person who is not a licensed physician. She is scheduled to be sentenced in September.
The Burgess case began in April 2022 when a Norfolk Police detective began investigating “concerns” – a tip – that the daughter had a stillbirth and had enlisted the help of her mother to dispose of the fetus.
Norfolk Police detective Ben McBride in an affidavit [PDF] describes obtaining the medical records of the women, interviewing them, and obtaining a search warrant to gain access to the women’s Meta/Facebook account data, based on knowledge of a relevant Facebook Messenger discussion.
The messages obtained discuss taking the pills and plans to burn the fetus.
Meta did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Last August, after the charges were first filed, Meta issued a statement saying that it had responded to valid legal warrants related to the “alleged illegal burning and burial of a stillborn infant.”
“The warrants did not mention abortion at all,” the company said.
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