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Woman convicted of endangering children in her decrepit NYC home

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A woman who was raising three children in a decrepit New York City house that lacked some exterior walls and a part of the roof was convicted on Friday on charges of endangering the children's welfare, the local prosecutor's office said.

Katherine Vartholomeou, 48, had no running water in her home in the borough of Queens, and powered lights and other devices by running extension cords from a neighboring house, according to the Queens district attorney's account.

About a year ago, police found her 8-year-old son and her two grandchildren, age 2 and 3, hiding in some of the refuse that filled the home. The police had entered with a search warrant while investigating Dimitrios Vlahakis, Vartholomeou's 24-year-old son, for a string of burglaries.

The home's structure had previously been damaged in a fire, and police feared another fire might be imminent as they found extension cords, lights and refuse in combustible proximity. Buckets of urine and feces were scattered through the home, and the place was infested by vermin and insects, Richard Brown, the district attorney, said in a statement.

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Vartholomeou, who was convicted of three counts of endangering the welfare of a child in Queens County Supreme Court after a four-day trial by jury, is due to be sentenced on March 19, 2015. She faces up to a year in jail.

Vlahakis, the older son, pleaded guilty to possessing stolen property in March, 2014, and was sentenced to 90 days in jail.

The three young children are in the custody of relatives, Brown's office said.

Joseph Justiz, Vartholomeou's defense lawyer, did not respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Sandra Maler)

 
 
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