Recent Criminal Charges Of Unlawful Conduct Prompt Authorities To Re-Open Past Cases Of Child Injury And Death

Last week it was reported that a young mother and her live-in boyfriend had been charged with unlawful conduct toward a child in connection with the tragic death of a 2-month-old. Your Charleston personal injury attorney read that court documents revealed the baby was transported to Trident Medical Center in full cardiac arrest last Wednesday, and pronounced dead later that morning. It was further reported that affidavits state that the baby’s body was “riddled” with insect bites, and upon investigator’s inspection of the child’s home, highly unsanitary living conditions were discovered. Cockroaches were said to have been in the baby’s bassinet, while dog feces were on the ground of the residence. According to the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, the precise cause of the child’s death is still under investigation, but its determination could lead to additional criminal charges for the young mother and current boyfriend.

It has been announced by authorities, however, that this particular incident has led to the re-opening of two cases involving the same young mother and her other two children. The first stems from a March 2009 incident in which Sheriff’s Deputies responded to Trident Hospital regarding a baby suffering serious burn injuries. Deputies said the young mother’s then boyfriend caused second-degree burns to the baby’s hands and feet by bathing the child in hot water. The boyfriend, but not father to the child, later pleaded guilty to unlawful conduct toward a child and served two years. According to the Department of Social Services, the baby has since recovered from said burn injuries and was adopted last year.

The then boyfriend and the young mother, as well as her father, were all charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor after investigators in the above incident found marijuana plants in the residence. This charge came as a result of the illegal plants being found while a then 16-year-old was a resident of the home. According to South Carolina Law, contributing to the delinquency of a minor is a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, requires penalty in a fine of no more than $3,000 or imprisonment of up to three years, or both.

It was also reported that In June 2010 Sheriff’s Deputies arrived at the young mother’s home after a four-month-old baby girl was found deceased in her crib by the child’s grandfather. Reportedly, the Coroner said they were unable to identify the cause of the child’s death at that time.

The Department of Social Services has said that they had no knowledge that the young mother had even given birth to the two-month old who passed last week. This could be due in large part to the child being born in Baltimore and only recently returned to South Carolina. As of last Friday, the young mother was in jail and given a $250,000 bond, while her boyfriend was released from custody after posting his $150,000 bond. Reports did not indicated whether either of them were represented by a South Carolina criminal defense attorney.

Each state has specific legislation as to what constitutes unlawful conduct toward a child, but, in general, the law prohibits any person who has charge or custody of a child, whether it be a parent, guardian, or individual responsible for the welfare of the child, from placing the child at unreasonable risk of harm causing bodily harm to the child that endangers the life and/or health of the child, or willfully abandoning the child. According to the South Carolina Code of Laws, a person who engages in conduct consistent with the above-outlined definition is guilty of a felony. And for each offense, upon conviction, must be fined in the discretion of the court or imprisoned for no more than ten years, or both.

Source: Live 5 News, “Investigators: More charges may be pending in boy’s death” June 29, 2012

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