“Didn’t think I was doing anything wrong:” Mom arrested for allowing 7-year-old son to go to park alone

Port St. Lucie, FL (WPTV) — A mom faces a charge of child neglect after she allowed her son to go to a park alone. She says he’s old enough but Port St. Lucie Police disagree. Now she’s fighting back.

“I’m totally dumbfounded by this whole situation,” says Nicole Gainey.

It began last Saturday afternoon when Gainey gave her son Dominic permission to walk from their house to Sportsman’s Park .

“Honestly didn’t think I was doing anything wrong,” says Gainey, “I was letting him go play.

It’s a half mile from their Port St. Lucie home. Dominic says it only takes him about 10 to 15 minutes to get there. During the walk, the 7-year-old passed a public pool. Someone there asked him where his mom was.

“They asked me a couple questions and I got scared so I ran off to the park and they called the cops,” says Dominic Guerrisi.

Dominic was playing at the park when an officer pulled up.

“They said ‘where does your mom live,’ ” says Dominic.

Police took him home. That’s when his mom was arrested and charged with child neglect. Gainey says she was shocked.

“My own bondsman said my parents would have been in jail every day,” says Gainey who paid nearly $4,000 to bond out.

The officer wrote in the report that Dominic was unsupervised at the park and that “numerous sex offenders reside in the vicinity.”

“He just basically kept going over that there’s pedophiles and this and that and basically the park wasn’t safe and he shouldn’t be there alone,” says Gainey.

She believes Dominic is mature enough to go to the park alone during the day. Gainey adds her son always has a cell phone which she calls to check on him.

“That I’m here and safe,” says Dominic.

Gainey plans to fight the felony charge. But after this she won’t let Dominic go to the park alone. She’s afraid she’ll be arrested again.

The St. Lucie County State’s Attorney’s office says there is no law that specifies how old a child has to be before he or she can go somewhere unsupervised. It’s done on a case-by-case basis.

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129 comments

  • disagree

    I think if there’s no law, they have no right to arrest her… it’s not as if she didn’t know her kid went to the park, nor did she not have a way to contact him… all kids have different maturity levels… maybe talking to her about the pedophiles in the area and advising her to not do that would have been appropriate – but an arrest with a felony charge seems way over the top.

  • Dave G

    Um the cop said the park isn’t a safe place!? Guess the police are not doing a good job then. I’m 44 and would go all over when I was a kid. Heck at 7 years old I would walk 10 blocks to school by myself. Each kid is different some can handle it, others can’t. As for Bill there are times to spend with your kids and times to let them gain experience and confidence. Being a helicopter parent breeds a bunch co-dependent kids much like the youth are today. Helpless and to stupid or lazy to do anything for themselves. With that said I don’t think you should let your kid do what ever but there are ways to give controlled freedom and that is what good parents do.

  • Mary Besaw

    Our school district has a bus transportation rule that if you live
    Less than two miles from school you have to walk or provide your own transportation, if they expect first and second graders to walk that far it would be hard to prove neglect. Not everyone has a car available during the day

    • Andrew Ramey

      That could have happened rather the parent was around or not. I was walking to the park all summer at 6 years old home with only one rule: if the street lights are on, I’d better be home. You’re an idiot and if you have kids, God help our nation if you and parents like you don’t open their eyes.

      • chiefz

        Heh. I know someome with your name who plays cards.

        I remember those times. Having to sprint home to not be in trouble because of the lights. Then summer coming and rules changed to “be home before 10″ good times…

    • april

      to NULL. really? you must be the helicopter parent that Dave G is talking about. at 7, the boy should know how to cross the street safely. and if he is raised in an area with snakes, i’m sure he’s learned to be aware of that too. his mother trusted him to be on his own. if you teach a child correctly, you should be able to trust them. don’t underestimate a child based on his age. give them more credit. not all us parents raise idiot children.

      • Cathy

        You have got to be kidding. My son is 12 and I won’t let him go to the park alone. That’s where pedophiles hang out. How many times have you heard about adults being kidnapped, disappearing? He’s seven years old, a baby, no matter how mature he is.

      • chiefz

        And your son will suffer later most likely. 12 yrs old and not allowed freedom? What is that 6th/7th grade? Jesus. My son is 11 and has complete freedom. Very disciplined,well mannered, and studies on his own to be a medical professional one day. Come on, its parents like you who hold back our future generation from advancing the world. You parents are taking 2 long leaps backwards while the rest of us struggle to push forward. This fear is not worth it. Get over it and let the kids be kids for gods sake. We are safer now than ever before. Cell phones, beacons,trackers, everyone being in everyone elses business. Come on, safety is all around us and these kids need to be set free from their bubble.

      • Dan Marino

        @cathy how would you know the pedophiles “hang out” at the parks? If that’s your idea of a park, you’re going to need a slap of reality and go outside the rock you live under..

      • John

        @CATHY
        why not read up on abduction statistics before you make yourself seem paranoid and delusional. in the US there are only 100-120 kidnappings a year where the crime was committed by a stranger. In other words, statistically your kid is 1000s of times more likely to be killed by a car accident with you behind the wheel than a stranger taking them. Stop letting the media scare you into being a bad parent and let your kid live a bit. if either kidnaping or molestation was to happen, statistics show its most likely to be done by a family member or friend of the family. The only real way to keep your kid safe is teach good and bad touch and open trustful comunication with you….which is highly unlikely to happen if the kid is severly restricted and or worried about punishments for every screw up… as messed up as it sounds, if the kid thinks they might get in trouble for telling you, they wont.

  • Kristin

    Exactly the problem! Police want parents to do the “policing” then when parents take things into their own hands that they don’t like, the parents are still in trouble! Kids should be able to go to the park if the parent believes they are mature enough to get around on their own and this child did what he SHOULD have done in a situation that made him feel uncomfortable!!!!

  • Kate Taylor

    My daughter is 13, we live in a secure gated development -not crime ridden Florida that spawned courtTv there was so much subject matter to do so – and she goes NOWHERE without my husband or myself driving her; and, she must be with a friend or two to use the lake, pool, clubhouse, park, tennis, etc…. i walked to school at 7 … a few blocks away by myself …in the 70s! No, today’s world is the fodder for several of our stations shows – She’s as irresponsible as the dolts that leave kids in cars…in ANY weather. Those of you here thinking 7 is in ANY way *mature* either don’t have kids or shouldn’t. You should spend some time talking statistics with Adam Walsh.

    • susan

      I agree with you. I don’t think that you are being overprotective. Your daughter will grow up knowing how much you love her and that you did your best as a parent to protect her . The shame would be for her to grow up with a parent that did not care that she was half a mile down the road with no supervision.

      • aaron

        No, that’s not how children think. By being an overbearing parent she is encouraging her child to become rebellious, which will deteriorate their relationship.

    • B Holmes

      What kind of crime-ridden gated community do you live in that causes you to feel a need to helicopter parent that badly? At 13, I was babysitting other kids. By myself. So you know the actual crime statistics, the crime rate where they live is 2.3-in-1000, compared to the current national average of about 4-in-1000. Growing up, I walked to school, to K Mart, and to the park by myself at about the age of 7 or 8. The crime rate where I lived was about 5-in-1000 (which was quite low in the US, in fact the town I lived in was ranked among the safest in the US in the 80s). Crime is way down, but you don’t feel safe. I don’t get it.

      • Scizmz

        These people are insane. “Ye have locked yourselves up in cages of fear, and, behold, do ye now complain that ye lack freedom.”

    • wtp

      Your daughter is going to end up making terrible life choices because she’s never been given the opportunity to be responsible for herself. You should be ashamed and yet you’re proud.

    • chris g

      Crime is down since the 70’s and 80’s there is less violent criminals now than before we just hear about it more now because of how easy information can travel. I have two kids 3 and 11 months. If my son is 7 and he seems to be mature enough to be on his own at the park I’ll let him go. Your daughter is 13 and she isn’t allowed to be anywhere on her own? Stop being a helicopter mom and let your kids grow up and mature.

    • Really?

      That’s honestly a little pathetic. Keeping her under that lock and key is exactly why you will be asking how she got pregnant or why she stumbles home drunk. Cut the umbilical cord a bit. You can’t follow her her entire life.

      • panem et circenses

        As someone who grew up with mildly protective parents, (They allowed me to go to a few locations on my own by about age eight, and where I pleased by about age twelve, as long as I kept them updated with where I was and had a buddy that was at least my age ) I can assure you that I tend to be far better at traveling safely and efficiently than my peers who had highly over protective parents, and I also have far fewer problems with my parents, resulting in a less rebellious outlook.

    • Jack Frost

      Lady, you have some serious issues you need to work through. It’s none of your business how other people decide to raise there children.

      I believe you to be an overbearing and completely incompetent parent. But I believe that’s you’re right. It’s your kid and you can raise your kids however you chose. Now extend that courtesy on to everyone else. Don’t treat the world like your children, and keep your parenting at home where it belongs.

    • Amor De Cosmos

      Wow, I feel really sorry for your kid. That knd of over protectiveness leads to major psychological issues in adults like irrational fear of strangers and a lack of confidence in general. Poor girl…

    • Jonny (@alpinejonny)

      What a great way to teach your kids to be terrified of the world just like yourself. I take my 8 year old daughter rock climbing all the time, we go hiking in bear country daily, we go white water canoeing often, and (gasp!) I even let her go to the nearby park by herself after dinner. I can’t imagine forcing my kid to grow up locked in a sterile subdivision for her entire life. I’d rather she live an amazing and free life from the ground up, and learn at a young age how to take responsibility for herself rather than be helicopter-parented.

    • Joe

      The only one that is a dolt is you. Your daughter will more then likely grow up with mental illness because of your luncy. You are doing more harm by sheltering her like the crazed lunatic you are.

  • VLVerne

    Wow, people are crazy. Letting your 7 year old go to the park, to pretty much fend for himself? Most children I know have a block radius…and many play in their backyards… Parents go to pick their children up from school…where anything can happen. When a child is in your care you should be caring for them…they will learn independence soon enough. Lazy parents wanting the village to raise their children literally. This is a new world we live in …read the papers….

    • James H

      The “new world we live in” is safer than the old one. Crime rates are down across the board, especially violent crimes. Kids are safer now to wander around than they were in the 70s or 80s. The problem is our culture has become a culture of fear. I think it’s because we no longer have large looming threats like nuclear war to put the small anxieties in perspective.

    • BDR

      So, so true. This is more the issue than anything else and in the days before the people at the pool would have just called the parents. There actually was no real cause for them to “do their civic duty” and call authorities. People look to their neighbor as evil for just having different parenting practice, there sure are a lot of people on here that don’t feel safe. Get out, get to know and you’ll learn that there are good people around to help, just about everywhere.
      Try hiring competent 20 years olds today. They aren’t all that common and typically come from rural backgrounds where risk was more accepted.

    • Quadalog

      Lol right maybe if the police were more worried about arresting the pervs that are taking the kids and less about the mom whom let her kid go out to play. Na keep the parks unsafe that way they can fine and ticket the honest person cause the ave perv is broke and could care less about paying a fine or going to jail.. Getting them off the streets is just bad for business

  • susan

    Maybe the cops reaction has something to do with him working cases where kids are kidnapped and killed or molested. I would NEVER allow my 8 year old son to walk 1/2 a mile to a park alone. It is bad parenting. Does this mother and those who agree with her parenting not watch the news? Pedophiles are everywhere, no they should not live near parks, but they do, and that is the reality of the world in which we live.

    • Quadalog

      Lol there’s so many you got to beat them off with sticks. I got an idea, I got married earlier this year and instead of living in north milwaukee as a family, were drugs and shootings and pervs are a common part of life so I did the responsible thing and moves to a safer neighborhood. Yah it costs more but it’s a sacrifice for the greater good of my family

  • laytonman

    Times have changed. At 7, 35 years ago, I was riding my bike all across town to go to malls and parks. Nobody thought much of it. Seriously, in fairness, unless you live in that area and know the kid’s maturity and the environment around there, it’ll be tough to judge her.

  • Canaan

    What kills me is all the people in the comments saying “the world is different / scarier now than it was when we were kids, you can’t let your kid walk around by himself.”
    No. It’s not different, it’s not worse, it’s the same world, with the same perverts, the same dangers, and the same stupidity as before. Only now you’re hooked on talking heads who devote their days to drenching the media with the latest reasons why you should never go outside and be always be very, very afraid, so you think it’s worse. And what’s more, you make it worse by acting like it’s worse in the first place, causing the biggest circle-jerk confirmation bias I have ever seen.
    It’s like not leaving a space to let someone turn right out of a parking lot when traffic is stopped at a light. “No one ever does it for me, why should I do it for them?” Maybe because if you did, they’d let the next person they saw in the same situation turn, too. Instead, you act selfish, petty, and paranoid and spread your bad attitude to everyone else on the road. And best of all, then you get to be “right” that everyone is a big jerk so you “have” to be one too in order to survive. Congratulations.
    The only thing that changed was people stopped looking for things to be happy about and started looking for things to be terrified of because it sold better.

  • Righteous_Randall

    Times have not changed im so sick of this argument. as a function of percentage of population pedophilia has gone down over the last century, same for kidnapping and crime in general. the reason you assume incorrectly that these things have gone up is because of the way this information is constantly reported because gullible fools like you eat it up and drive the rating of television “news”:

  • Ruin

    I feel like that’s a popular fallacy to believe– that there are a lot more crimes and problems today then back in the day. The truth is we just know about more crimes and problems and pedophiles and kidnappers simply because we have our phones and tablets and internet and news stations reporting every second. Back then, you’d have to get up and turn on the television or read the actual newspaper to find out about terrible things that happened. And even then it was only the biggest stories that made the cut because there was only so much room to write them. Bad and terrible things have happened for a very long time, all around us. In the 60’s, in the 80’s, in the 90’s and today. If anything, we might be safer now due to phones and the internet.

  • Reality Check

    “Helicopter” parents always think they know what is right for everyone else’s children as well as their own. I will continue to teach my children to be self-sufficient, and able to talk to me about things that could be trouble. When is the last time you heard a “free-range” parent lecturing a “helicopter” parent about how to raise a child? I want my kids to enjoy childhood. Keep the pedophiles away from the parks and schools (and I will teach my child how to stay away from them).

    • Dunabu

      Decades and decades of children have been playing outside by themselves. There used to be curfew and responsibility.

      I was this young and so were all my friends. No more or less bad people around these days than in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s etc.

      We’ve culled back all our kids freedoms.

      • Michelle Mae Souza

        That what the nazis in the government want along with gun confiscations, letting the 5th column insurgents in and martial law. V for Vendetta. BlObama is nothing but another Stalin or Hitler, this will end the same, no one puts so much effort into a totalitarian shithole without taking the final step, setting up extreme tyranny, police state gestapo tactics if they don’t intend to be a dictatorship.

  • Kalyn

    I feel this is stupid. The police and people like them, are making kids “baby status” till what? 18? 20? Can they NOT learn lessons on their own? Do they have to be handheld from home to school and back? Really!? You want mature adults? Hell teens? Teach them responsibilities, let them grow…and BAM! Smart kids become smart young adults. Why not just drop the kid off at his moms if so worried? A discussion in why, perhaps? Instead, you just proved how helicopter the government has become and isn’t letting anyone parent that is different then big wigs who aren’t even there.

  • Matt

    Helicopter parents are the ones doing the damage to the upcoming generation. Who needs to learn about the world and how to become a part of it when you can live under your mom and dad’s skirt until you’re 18.

  • chiefz

    Thats funny. I let my son when he was 7 (he is now 11) go off and play on his own and with friends. Know what he does now? He is ranked top in class, performs bjj, involved in boy scouts, studies math and science as he wants to be a doctor one day. Yea, all this freedom is totally holding him back from doing what he wants to do. I myself was granted complete freedom as well as my wife. Know what she does? She is a registered nurse,holding her bachelors making a lot of money. Im involved with a top engineering company who works on stealth operations. I guess us parents who let our children..ya know, be children are doing a horrible job at it. Thats some streamline intelligence there! Theyre kids for gods sake. Let them explore the world! It is much safer now than it has been in over 30 years! Quit holding the future generations back and maybe our future world could advance itself for the better!

  • Pat

    It has nothing to do with helicopter parents or pampered children, this story is about a lazy mother. No 7 year old child should be allowed to walk half a mile to anywhere without being accompanied by a responsible adult. That’s just too young! And if something happened to him (Adam Walsh) who’s fault would it be?

  • Ann

    It’s not worse now than it was then the only difference now is you hear more about the bad things that happen. 30 years ago you didn’t hear about the kid kidnapped across the country now you hear about it for months. When I was 9 I rode my bike on a major two lane highway 6 miles to town so I could see my friends in the summer. My dad worked odd hours and my mom was blind… it was the only way I could spend time with my friends. I usually had $5 for lunch and I had to call my mom from a pay phone when I got there and when I was leaving and I had to be home before dark… I was gone from maybe 9am-5 or 6 pm and she didn’t have exact tabs on me. Quite honestly I am terrified to let my son be outside alone…not because I am afraid something will happen to him but because I am afraid someone will accuse me of neglect or abuse for letting my son be a kid! I do let him make mistakes on his own though for example you want to climb on that rock… I don’t think it’s a good idea because you can get hurt but if you want to go ahead just don’t get upset if you fall.

  • MyOpinion

    I keep seeing people say how they let they’re 11, 12, 13 year olds have freedom, but not really under that age. Would you let a 7 year old walk somewhere unsupervised & somewhere that you can’t see them? Probably not, because they are 7! 7 year olds have limited life experience, so if something dangerous, or out of the ordinary happens, the will have difficultly knowing what to do. It *is* irresponsible to let a 7 year old have no supervision of any kind. An older child has usually proven themselves to have the freedom that they get. I really don’t care if people agree or not.

      • Pepe67563

        Gradually, over time, your learn life skills with a parent, relative or sibling. I’d wager 95% of 7 year olds these days haven’t been properly taught how to deal with the ‘stranger danger’ scenarios, etc.

    • William Small

      I’m more scared of the police and an abusive helicopter government than of the pedophiles. I can teach my kid clearly about the latter but the former, it is hard to teach your kid the nuances of how police are at least as threatening to their well being. Gee, if you are honest with the police officer that your mom lets you play by yourself outside at age 7 they may arrest her and cost a good deal of valuable money that should be for your college. This is total BS. I let my 5 year old play out of my sight plenty. I live in a normal area like where I grew up and I was let to play so. I rode my bike to elementary school. My child is plenty capable of handling himself in familiar areas. You can get kidnapped at any age. My 5 year old is more capable of crossing the street safely than some adults. If it is on a case by case basis they are going to need to be able to put every case through a standardized test that is not based on age. Age is an offensively arbitrary determining factor.

    • Jynx

      I was riding my bicycle to school a mile away at age 7. I had free run of the neighborhood as did all my friends at that age. Some children are mature at a young age and some are not. On a case by case basis you can trust some children young to learn and explore on their own. Just because you didn’t do it, doesn’t mean it’s wrong and just because I did doesn’t mean it’s right. It just means that for some children it’s ok and should be ok.

      Nosy parents can be concerned, so long as they be concerned from afar, Does the child look lost, injured, or scared? No? Leave them alone. Does the child look lost, injured, or scared, or potentially in a dangerous situation? Yes, THEN you intervene.

      And by dangerous situation I’m talking about playing in the middle of the road dangerous or look at this funny needle I found dangerous, not I’m walking to the store at the end of the block by myself, but that’s dangerous because there are “those bad people are around.”

      The world is full of bad people. Teaching your children to hide their head in the sand will not benefit them.

    • Peter

      I don’t quite get the point here. At 7 most of the kids in my class walked 10-15 min. to the bus stop every morning and afternoon for school. At 8-9 most of us rode bikes all the way. Everyone I knew played outside unsupervised at all times from as young as I can remember. It’s not like safety’s become any worse since then.

  • JC

    Pathetic nanny state. A felony? For something that we did everyday as kids back in the day? And these are the same knuckleheads who will insist that parents cannot spank. I remember hot footing it home every day as soon as the streetlights came on. Only difference is back then we didn’t have cell phones to stay in touch with mom and dad at any time.

  • Mars Girl

    Um. Then my mom was really irresponsible as she let me walk to school by myself from 1st grade on… And all summer long, I had the freedom to ride my bike around the neighborhood or to a friends house. I spent hours away from home, playing in the woods with my neighbor friends, and none of our parents knew where we were all day. All the parents had to do was stand on the porch and shout our names and we’d appear. Now people have cell phones so it’s even better. Anyway, I’m so glad I’m not growing up now with these over-protective adults… That would have totally made me try to buck the system more than having my own personal freedom to roam the neighborhood as I pleased.

  • Cross Greg

    They are blaming the mother for the number of pedophiles in the area? Stupid. Yes its a borderline case and he is a bit young but a warning would have been more than adequate from the police department, not a stupidly executed arrest.

  • Dean Tate

    Couple of things… first, so the mom is arrested because “there are pedophiles in the area”… isn’t that the cops’ problem to deal with? How is arresting mom solving that problem? And how is that any different than telling women not to wear skirts or smile in public, otherwise they’ll be raped? Blame the victim much?

    Sadly, American society has become wussified in the last 10-15 years. Overprotecting and coddling the “children”… prime example? Now children can be covered under their parents’ health insurance up to age TWENTY-SIX… SERIOUSLY?

    • Common sense

      Well considering a lot of students are gratuate from college at 22-24. Then they have 1-3 years of little to no benefits b/c they are new and so the CEO and other execs can stuff their wallet. Now they are 23-27, so yes SEIOUSLY 26 makes sense. God forbid we let parents help their children out as they are starting out totally on their own. What horrid parent, you know caring for their child and all. Besides 26 is the oldest they CAN be covered not HAVE to be covered. They get health insurance as 23? Then parent take them off theirs, it’s a fairly simple concept.

  • BinaryDemon

    “He just basically kept going over that there’s pedophiles and this and that and basically the park wasn’t safe and he shouldn’t be there alone,” If the police feel the neighborhood is THAT unsafe then perhaps they should focus on solving those problems rather than arresting local parents.

  • bill

    So you’re saying that you yourself and about 90% of the current adult population are criminals and overall shitty people. Because thats how almost everyone was raised you fool, only recently in the past decade have helicopter parents like yourself come out and try to say everyone else is wrong. Your kids are going to grow up to be some real weak individuals, thats why most foreigners consider our kids a bunch of pussies and I whole heartily agree.

  • Florida_is_Weird

    but your argument doesnt line up with the stats… only 24% percent of child abductions occur from a non-parent and within that 72% are female. so this kid had a a pretty slim chance of getting abducted. 1 in 10,000 is incredibly generous.

  • Vayas

    Port St. Lucie police need to be reminded of some things (from California’s Family to Family website):
    Parental arrest is by definition a traumatic event for children. So is separation from parents.
    The impact of separation can include anger, rejection, depression, low self-esteem, poor school performance, developmental delays, and inadequate social skills.
    When kids go through something frightening, stressful, or life altering, their personality can be permanently affected.
    The impact of a parent’s arrest on a child between age 6-11 can include, in addition to being worried about the parent, that the child develops a mistrust of people who are supposed to be the “good guys”.
    Seems to me even if the mom made a mistake here (which I don’t think she did) then the cops made a much bigger one. Which one is going to impact this kid more?

  • James Hepler

    If the park is so dangerous, as the police officer suggests, then the police are clearly not doing THEIR jobs in Port St. Lucie.

    “You have to watch your kid, because we are so terrible at our jobs, the park isn’t safe. Doughnut time!”
    -Port St. Lucie police force

  • Bill Sheet

    Laws are protecting the wrong people and I mean people in the wrong. There is a female teacher running around B.R., LA who had a documented inappropriate relationship with a young male on her track team that was never arrested because the parents didn’t want to press charges against the teacher and this poor mother is under attack by the law for letting her child go to the park. If this is how it is, I better pull my child(ren) from the Catholic school system.

  • Codi

    Two years ago I went back to work and my 5 year old and 1 year old went to a babysitter for their for first day. An hour later I got a phone call from my husband who told me that the boys had just walked in the front door. This is at 6:30 am. The sun is barely coming up. They had walked a quarter mile home and crossed two main highways. The babysitter didn’t even know they were gone until we told her. We pursued neglect charges but were told we needed more incidents of neglect. We reached out to the community and found other parents had experienced cases of her neglecting their children as well. Our case then went to court where she basically got a slap on the wrist( a misdemeanor). Extremely aggravated. Always check on the people you leave your children with.

    • Ron

      Being thst time of day, or sorry, *night*, the babysitter was probably asleep like most normal human beings are at that time. Also, if your husband was at home, he ought to have been “babysitting”. By your own reasoning, your husband had been neglectful as well, sleeping when his kids were off somewhere else. If you ddidn’t have to work during the night, you’d most likely have been asleep too. You’re being harsh. Yes, that situation is scary and could have been a lot worse; I’m just glad that your kids made it to safety. They’re not the first children to pull a stunt like this, and I hope that you spoke sternly….yet lovingly….to your lil’ 5-year-old Dora the Explorer.
      I understand your anger; I have 3 children myself. I also expect them to abide by the safety rules of whichever adult I have trusted to take care of them. Wandering off is a *huge* no-no.

      • BLT

        Ron,

        But it seems that Codi took her kids to the babysitter’s home at 5:30 a.m. for the express purpose of having the sitter watch the kids. That is very early, to be sure, but if that was what they worked out, the sitter shouldn’t be asleep. The kids then walked home at 6:30 a.m., while the sitter was supposed to be watching them. The father might well have been working a different shift where he couldn’t watch them, but even if he wasn’t, that wouldn’t absolve the sitter of losing track of the kids, when she was being paid specifically to do that.

  • Donald Duck

    “But after this she won’t let Dominic go to the park alone. She’s afraid she’ll be arrested again.”

    Yup, this is what I took away from the post. It’s terrible when the public should be more fearful from the police than the rest of the world.

  • MediocreCitizen

    So what’s with the ridiculous helicopter parent at the pool? Why did this person feel it was her business to walk up to a young boy she doesn’t know and badger him about where his parents are?? There are no state or federal laws pertaining to the age you can leave a child at home alone, or walk themselves to the park. The police department owes the mother an apology and $4000 back in cash. I feel so sad for our country and the poor, lost generations we are raising.

  • Sally

    Well, if the park is so dangerous the cops say that the child should not go there, maybe the cops should clean up the park and make it safe instead of arresting the mother. Good lord, all of government is getting out of control.

  • billy_shanks

    When I was 7-10 years old (back in the ’70s mind you) we didn’t think twice about riding our bikes all over town. We went to the store, to the school playground, to parks and libraries and local businesses and to friends’ houses of course without consulting with mom. It wasn’t that unusual for us to be 3-4 miles from home and sometimes much farther than that. Basically we left in the morning and returned to our homes once or twice a day. Because the weather was perfect nearly all year round (this was Southern California) we were rarely indoors. My dad worked on a tuna boat and was gone for 3-4 months at a time so my mom basically made sure we made it home for lunch and dinner, had baths or showers, and made it to bed on time for school the next day. Of course there were no cells and honestly that was a good thing. We had freedom and independence – even as pretty small kids – and in retrospect that was great. Sure we did some stupid things – what kid doesn’t? – but that’s part of growing up. I got into trouble, got into fights, took some bad spills on my bike, made a couple visits to the ER (hey I was a boy, right?) but that’s all pretty standard stuff. There were sick people that roamed the streets then as now and kids now are probably savvier then we ever were. I have 3 kids of my own and don’t mind it when they run around the neighborhood – though the wife freaks out now and then about it. Yes there should be reasonable boundaries but a kid going a mile or two to play at the park doesn’t sound unreasonable to me.

  • Joey Bob

    A hovering parent is like a micro-managing boss. If don’t like that type of management over you then you shouldn’t do it to your kids. Plus I thought the ULTIMATE punishment for kids was “grounding” them to their room. What does grounding mean now? no ipad after 9pm?

  • Mike

    At least the kid learned a very valuable, if expensive lesson, never, ever trust a cop nowadays. Adamned shame really, I remember when they were called peace officers, and for a reason.

  • Mike

    I hope she fights this charge all the way. I walked to school alone from grade one on, intact my parents used to chase my brother and I out of the house until dark! Go out and play, she would say. I agree with many of the posters here, children today are smothered and coddled, life is going to give them a rude wake up call when they head out on their own.

  • Jim Murray

    I was shocked she’d be arrested for this, but then I did some research. There are exactly 112 sexual predators within 5 miles of that park. The park’s is at 201 SW Prima Vista Blvd, Port St. Lucie, FL 34983. Search here: http://offender.fdle.state.fl.us/offender/searchNeighborhood.do?actionPerformed=neighborhoodSearchMain
    I predict she’ll lose in court based on that information. Giving the kid a cell phone is the best thing she’s got going for her the other way.

  • Grace Penniman

    LOL, so funny. Majority of people my age always wandered the streets in a mile radius when we were 6-9. We never had any lessons of avoiding strangers, yet we were smart enough to know when there was trouble. If you weren’t alone, it was usually with another same age friend or relative. Gotta love how the world changed so much with restrictions when the perps are always everywhere, and the good people gets penalized…sad world we live in now.

  • Ed T

    The kid is obviously smart enough to bolt when a stranger at the public pool started asking him questions. Maybe the person at the pool should be investigated as a possible pedophile. Run them through the ringer and maybe next time they’ll mind their own business.

  • Ima Freeman

    The issue at hand is that of the government ignoring the right of self ownership.
    The government thinks that you are their property.
    So how do you combat this?
    Several ways…
    You pressure the DA to charge the police officer with abduction.
    The police officer had no legal reason to take this child into custody.
    The mother needs to hire a lawyer and sue the police department for false arrest.
    The only way to fight the corrupted law enforcement community is through the legal system.
    The only way the government will make any changes if if they are hit in the purse.

    There needs to be serious repercussions for law enforcement officers that misuse their authority.
    I hope this woman wins a large lawsuit against her local police department, and receives enough compensation to send her child to a good college.

  • Jordan Gayle

    My grandma sent us to school 2 miles away, so we were taking and waiting for the city buses at 530-6 am everyday from the 1st grade, to the 4th. We stayed with her during the week while my mom was in nursing school, and the “private drivers” costed too much.We eventually ended up going to the school down the block when my mom got ill, but P.S 149 what such a bad school, It was worth dodging at P.S 114 for 4 years.

  • kyle

    I agree that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that what I used to do as a child by current standards was foolish parenting; but a conversation with the mother to bring her up to speed on the issue was all that was needed…unless the state was trying to make money by unnecessarily adding a case into the system? But wait, doesn’t that cost the system money?

  • garrett

    i dont know why you would even let a 7 year old walk to the park let alone by himself, be a mother and spend time with your son at the park, the cop did the right thing.

  • BlobBlobBlop

    Fire the cops. Plain and simple. Zero tolerance for messing with the public like this. We need to take back our control of our own society.

    There should be a law in place that gives communities DIRECT DEMOCRATIC OVERSIGHT over the hiring and firing of ANY POLICE OFFICER on duty. That means, if a community collects enough signatures to fire a cop, then that cop should be fired and never allowed to work as a cop anywhere else again.

    Demand that law now, today. Clamor for it.

  • papasmurf

    I think a citation would have sufficed. Maybe even just a warning. I do agree with the cops on not letting your 7 year old walk to the park alone, cell phone or not. I have a 9 year old and I would never let her go to the park alone. He’s seven. Thats not right, and if you think its OK, your not right for thinking that. Don’t go crying to the cops when your seven year old goes missing, or ran over by a car.

  • Tommysole

    If the park is not safe, Why don’t the IDIOT cops make it safe by doing their JOB?!?!?!?!
    When I was that age, the cops were always looking out for kids, and patrolling like they are paid to do. Cops today are fat, lazy, donut eating PIGS!

  • George Huisman

    A society steeped in freedom is built on laws; the laws support peaceful coexistence. Breaking the law is about “attacking” a society’s peace. The law only has one purpose, to establish and sustain justice. When it does anything else it begins to serve itself and take on a life of its own. It creates a culture where, for example, “peace” officers become “law enforcement” officers, courts become magistrates of the “law,” and citizens become busybodies if not downright vigilantes. Juries exist to determine if a law was broken as opposed to determining whether an injustice was performed. When you view this case with a perceptive eye, a true American would be sitting in the park and notice the seven year old; “Hmm, I wonder where the boy’s mother is? Perhaps he wandered in here from his back yard. I’ll just keep an eye on him while he’s here,” or something to that effect. Will justice be served if this mother goes to prison? I think not. “Oh God, my heavenly father, please mediate for this dear mother whose only mistake was that she trusted her son and her neighbors. And Father, raise up leaders in our great country, who see freedom as you do; who understand what it means to be truly good and what you require of us; to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with you!

    O beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife,
    Who more than self their country loved,
    And mercy more than life!
    America! America! May God thy gold refine
    Till all success be nobleness,
    And ev’ry gain divine!

  • Lynda Jones

    This is ridiculous! I’m a single mom and so was my mom. I was catching a bus to school and walking by myself when I was 6. Of necessity I made sure my children were streetwise from an early age. Keeping kids indoors and making the world an unnecessarily scary place is like cutting the wings off a bird. They need to learn to fly, alone, if they are to survive. The police should be patrolling the parks and making sure children are safe, and neighbours should know their neighbours. Quite frankly, here in South Africa where I live, every child is watched by every grownup, just in case. Nobody interferes with the children, and they are safe. And they say WE’RE a backward nation!

  • Ann

    Easy to see that most of the people commenting are a bunch of idiot parents who, deep down inside don’t really care about what happens to their children. You see these type all the time on tv, when their kid is missing. The “no tears” parent who is still able to talk on tv, about their missing kid. I have seen this type of parent on tv, and I wonder, how are you not a basket case right now? This is the same kind of parent who says, once their kid is 18, they better be out of the house, and on their own. The same kind of parent who can’t stand their kids to be around them, and just want them “out of their hair”. Sickening!

  • mustang 2014

    Then, the world changed when Honda brought out their
    stunning four-stroke machines. The proceeds go to The festivities begin at 1
    P. Rumour has it that the upcoming expansion at Racer’s Cafe may be called Boulevard 60
    @ Racer’s Cafe; paying homage to the previous generation’s ownership with the
    old alpha-numeric phone number prefix of the original business.

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