A Thorndike mother accused of burning her son’s hand on a woodstove as punishment will continue to have custody of the child because authorities say there aren’t any other good options.

Michelle Dunworth, 30, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and domestic violence assault after allegedly putting her 6-year-old son’s hand on a woodstove “so he would know what it feels like.” He had mistakenly pushed his sister into the stove, prompting the punishment, police said.

Dunworth entered a plea of not guilty in Waldo County District Court in Belfast on Tuesday, according to the district attorney’s office, and remains free on $500 bail.

The case is scheduled to go to trial next month while Dunworth’s 6-year-old son, a 7-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son remain in her custody, Waldo County Deputy District Attorney Eric J. Walker said Thursday.

The family recently moved to Maine from Kansas and there are no extended family members or friends that the children could have been placed with, Walker said.”After talking with officials from DHHS and officers that handled the case, we determined that while we had lots of options, none of them were great,” Walker said.

The Department of Health and Human Services has refused to comment on the case, citing confidentiality reasons. .

Rachel Ohm can be contacted at 612-2368 or at [email protected]

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