A Florida mom has been arrested and charged with child neglect after she allowed her 7-year-old son to walk to the park on his own last Saturday, reports WPTV.
Nicole Gainey says she doesn’t believe she was doing anything wrong when she gave her son Dominic permission to walk to Sportsman’s Park unaccompanied by an adult.
“I’m totally dumbfounded by this whole situation,” Gainey said.
The park is located a half mile from their home in Port St. Lucie and Dominic says it takes him about 10 to 15 minutes to get there by foot. While on his way to the playground, the child passed a public pool, where lifeguards reportedly questioned the whereabouts of his mother. When Dominic got scared off by the questions and ran, pool workers called the police.
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Cops say they found the boy at the park and that he was wearing a cell phone around his neck, which his mother had provided, reports the Washington Times.
They escorted him home and arrested his mother for child neglect.
According to the police report, Dominic was discovered unsupervised in a park and it was unsafe because “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,” Gainey said.
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Gainey says she plans on fighting the felony charge and the Florida Department of Children and Families has since revealed it plans to drop her case. The mom says that, although this has changed her mind about letting her child go to the park alone, she believed he was old enough to do so and that she constantly checked up on him by calling him on his cell.
“My own bondsman said my parents would have been in jail every day,” Gainey said.