NEGLECT OF A DEPENDENT: Mother of abuse victim pleads not guilty

COLUMBIA CITY — A woman involved in a local sex abuse case appeared in court Monday.Joy Hughes, 37, of Kendallville, pleaded not guilty in August to felony neglect of a dependent.She was accused of abandoning her daughter to the care of Dean Pressler in 2008. Pressler was subsequently arrested in January of this year for multiple sex crime charges with this child. Pressler was given a 60-year prison sentence in August.Hughes’ attorney is Brad Baber. He requested a continuance and will be back in court with his client Oct. 7 for pretrial proceedings.When interviewed by investigators, Hughes indicated she had met Pressler on the social-networking website, MySpace. After meeting him, Hughes needed foot surgery and was hospitalized for nearly a week. She said she let her daughter stay with Pressler during that time while he lived on East Ellsworth Street near Holmes Lumber Company.Once out of the hospital, Hughes moved into the Ellsworth Street house to stay with Pressler and her daughter. Hughes told investigators that she thought her daughter and Pressler were “close” and that he represented the missing father-figure in her life.To read the rest of this story, see the Sept. 10 issue of The Post and Mail. Don't have a subscription? Call (260) 244-5153 or subscribe to our e-edition. For breaking news, sports updates and additional coverage, bookmark the homepage and find us on facebook and twitter.