LOWELL -- "I believe, with everything in my heart, that she meant to harm me,'' Sister Robin McCarthy told a judge during the sentencing of Joanne Miele in Lowell District Court on Friday.
Miele, 49, of Dracut, pleaded guilty to one count of violation of a harassment order against the handicapped nun, who is confined to a wheelchair due to cerebral palsy. McCarthy, 44, is from the order of the Sisters for Christian Community.
Judge Thomas Brennan placed Miele on probation until Jan. 25, 2016, with an order to stay away from McCarthy.
Defense attorney Richard Ahern said the violation-of-harassment order essentially "slipped through the cracks.''
The violation incident occurred Oct. 31, 2012, when Miele, who was McCarthy's caregiver and had pending charges against her for assaulting the nun, stopped at McCarthy's building and asked a neighbor how the nun was doing.
"Many times I've seen her walking by. She knows my habits,'' McCarthy said in court. "I used the only weapon I have. I called the police.''
Last February, Miele pleaded guilty to assault and battery on a disabled person, aggravated assault and battery, violation of a harassment-prevention order and witness intimidation.
Miele was sentenced to 18 months in jail, suspended for 58 days -- time deemed served -- and probation for the next three years. While on probation, Miele is prohibited from working with the disabled. She must undergo a drug evaluation, abstain from drugs and submit to random drug screens.
As part of Miele's three-year probation, she is prohibited from having any contact with McCarthy.
The two women's paths crossed when McCarthy needed a home-health aide for about six months last year to help her recuperate after surgery.
Instead, McCarthy alleges Miele showed up high on drugs and McCarthy fired Miele.
That's when things turned ugly.
McCarthey told Lowell police she was assaulted by Miele in the lobby of her Lowell apartment in January 2012.
After taking out a harassment-prevention order against Miele in March, McCarthy contacted Lowell police Nov. 28 and told them that the day before, she was in St. Louis Church Chapel for a prayer meeting when Miele allegedly approached her.
Miele allegedly whispered in McCarthy's ear, "What goes around comes around."
Follow Lisa Redmond on Tout and Twitter@lredmond13_lisa.