Mom Arrested for Letting 7-Year-Old Son Walk to Park Alone
“I honestly didn’t think I was doing anything wrong. I was letting him go play."
Those are the words of Nicole Gainey of Port St. Lucie, Florida, who faces a felony charge of child neglect after she allowed her 7-year-old son to walk alone to a park half a mile from their home.
Officials with the Florida Department of Children and Families told Gainey that the charges would likely be dropped, but the case has sparked controversy with people across the country who say she never should have been charged in the first place.
Gainey's son Dominic was walking by a public pool on the way to the park last Saturday when someone asked him where his mother was.
"They asked me a couple of questions and I got scared, so I ran off to the park and they called the cops," Dominic told WPTV.
Dominic was playing at the park when police approached him and asked where his mother lived. Police then arrested the woman on a charge of child neglect, with one officer writing in an arrest report that Dominic was unsupervised in an area where several sex offenders reside.
Gainey told the press she believes her son is mature enough to go to the park alone, and that he carries a cell phone with him. Before hearing from DCF officials, she said she planned to fight the charge. However, she said she will never again allow Dominic to go to the park alone for fear of being arrested.
According to WPTV, Florida's State's Attorney's Office says there is no law stating how old a child must be before coming and going unsupervised.
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