South City foster mom faces jail time in bleach burning incident

Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A former South San Francisco foster mom will not serve time in prison after soaking her 20-month-old baby's diaper in bleach three years ago, prosecutors said Monday, but she could find herself behind bars anyway for basically being bad at her job.

Patricia Ann Moore, 68, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of child endangerment Friday. She faces up to a year in County Jail when she is sentenced Sept. 24, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

The plea agreement came more than two years after Judge Richard Livermore threw out felony charges of willful cruelty against a child, citing insufficient evidence. But Moore wasn't out of the woods. Prosecutors took their case to the San Mateo County criminal grand jury, and Moore was indicted last fall on similar felony charges.

Since the indictment, however, prosecutors changed their tune and offered to reduce the felony charge to a misdemeanor. That's partly because Moore's defense attorney May Mar presented evidence that the ex-foster mom “lacked good child-care skills,” Wagstaffe said.

Mar did not return a request for comment Monday.

From the beginning of the case, prosecutors didn't believe Moore had intended to burn the baby. She was being prosecuted for lying about the harm, Wagstaffe said.

Wagstaffe called Friday's plea agreement a “fair” ending to the sad and bizarre case.

As a foster parent, Moore would temporarily care for children brought by Child Protective Services. On Aug. 19, 2010, Moore brought her foster daughter to Kaiser hospital in South San Francisco with first- and second-degree burns on both buttocks, Wagstaffe said.

Moore told authorities the baby had a defecation problem. To remedy that, she claimed she bathed the child in 12 inches of water and a half-capful of bleach, Wagstaffe said. She noticed the redness the next day and decided to bring the girl to a hospital, Wagstaffe said.

But doctors and police didn't buy the story and believed Moore had soaked the diaper in bleach and then strapped it onto her foster child. Not only was a diaper soaked with bleach found in the trash of Moore's home, the “waffle pattern of a diaper fabric” could be seen on the baby's buttocks, according to prosecutors.

Moore remains out of custody on a $50,000 bail bond, Wagstaffe said.

Bay Area NewsCrimeCrime & CourtsSan Mateo County District Attorney's OfficeSouth San FranciscoSteve Wagstaffe

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at

Just Posted

Gov. Gavin Newsom, show here speaking at the City College of San Francisco mass vaccination site in April, faces a recall election due to anger on the right over his handling of the pandemic, among other issues. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Why Gavin Newsom’s popularity could work against him in the recall election

Top pollster: ‘We’re not seeing the Democrats engaged in this election. And that may be a problem…’

Passengers ride the 14-Mission Muni bus on Friday, March 12, 2021. (Jordi Molina/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Transit officials fear Free Muni pilot could hurt already-strained service levels

Supporters say fare cuts could increase ridership, help low-income residents

The vacant property at 730 Stanyan St. in the Haight currently houses a safe sleeping site for the homeless. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Affordable housing project on former McDonald’s site delayed as city adds units

The start of construction on an affordable housing project on the site… Continue reading

Visitors read a notice hanging on the Polk Street entrance to City Hall on Thursday, March 26, 2020, shortly after the building was closed. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City Hall reopening to the public on June 7 after long closure due to COVID-19

San Francisco will reopen City Hall to the public on June 7… Continue reading

Historic streetcars are undergoing testing on The Embarcadero to prepare for their return to service on May 15.<ins></ins>
What to expect for Muni Metro’s relaunch on May 15

Significant service restoration includes downtown subway tunnels and historic streetcars

Most Read