A white Massachusetts woman has pleaded guilty to assault and civil rights charges and been sentenced to probation for driving her car toward three Black women and their five children outside a cookie shop and yelling racial slurs at them, prosecutors said.
Rhonda Wozniak, 61, of Lynn, was sentenced Tuesday in Lynn District Court to nine months of probation in the encounter in the parking lot of a Swampscott cookie shop. She was also ordered to perform 40 hours of community service and stay away from the victims, according to a statement from the office of Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett.
The women and the children, who ranged in age from 5 to 12, were returning to their cars after visiting the shop on the evening of July 28, 2020, when Wozniak “came speeding toward them in her motor vehicle, nearly hitting them," according to the prosecution's account.
When one of the women asked her to slow down, Wozniak shouted racial insults and slurs “and told them to go back where they belong," prosecutors said.
“The defendant’s action were harmful and offensive, not only to the victims, but also to the community at large,” Blodgett said in a statement.
Wozniak was identified through her vehicle's license plate, which was captured on video by one of the victims and on surveillance video from a business.
Wozniak's attorneys, Doug Ryan and Joe Simons, said in a statement that they had been preparing for a trial but that their client “ultimately decided to plead guilty, and in exchange was sentenced to probation."