LI woman charged with harassing child with genetic disorder

MELVILLE, Long Island -- New York state police say a Long Island woman used social media and the U.S. mail to harass a child with a genetic disorder that causes the skin to harden and crack.

Police arrested Krista Sewell on Thursday on charges including aggravated harassment as a hate crime, a felony.

Anna Riley lives in Ulster County in the Hudson Valley and suffers from harlequin ichthyosis.

The skin of children born with the disorder forms large plates separated by cracks.

The skin abnormalities affect breathing and movement.

Police say Sewell posted messages threatening the child on Facebook, Instagram and GoFundMe over the last year.

They say the 26-year-old Melville resident also mailed threatening letters to the child's home.

It's not clear if Sewell has an attorney who can speak for her.

Anna's mother, Jennie Riley released a statement on Saturday, saying,

"In 2017 my daughter Anna was born with a skin condition called Harlequin Ichthyosis. This condition is very severe and I have made a choice to educate people publicly on Facebook and Instagram. Although I knew there was a possibility for negativity I never expected to receive the messages that were sent to me. over the past year I have fought a battle I never thought I would fight and I felt fear no mother should feel. I want to thank the New York State police and the ulster county sheriff's Department for their diligence, dedication and most of all their compassion. I hope we can all learn from this and understand the importance of teaching our kids kindness and acceptance of visible differences."

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