It is no longer legal for children to play anywhere outside of their parents’ eyesight in many towns in America.
One of those places apparently is Westbrook, Maine, where Nicole Jensen is facing criminal charges that could lead to time in jail for letting her 7-year-old daughter play alone in the park a few hundred feet from her home – right across the street.
A simple trip to the park led to a legal nightmare for Jensen and her daughter Brooklynn on June 24, the mother of three told TV station WMTW. Jensen thought Brooklyn was at a playground within sight of her home until police knocked on her door.
“They said, ‘Do you know where your daughter is?’ and I said, ‘Yes,’ and they said, ‘Well no you don’t. She’s at the police station,” the mother of three said. “[The officer] said [Brooklynn] was at the park unsupervised, no one knew where she was, and ‘If I hadn’t gotten a hold of you, I would have taken her into (Department of Health and Human Services).”
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Police picked Brooklynn up and took her to the station after an unidentified woman called 911 and said she was alone in the park, Westbrook Police Chief Janine Roberts told WMTW. Jensen later was charged with child endangerment.
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The girl had been there about an hour, police said.
“That’s a long time for a 7-year-old girl to be by herself in any location, let alone a public park,” Roberts said.
Jensen was not worried about the girl because she and her neighbors watch the park and the children in it. Her children must check in with her every hour, she said, and there are at least “a dozen” people at the playground the mom knows.
“We watch each other’s kids. I don’t just send her over here and ignore her all day,” Jensen said.
Now she is answering her daughter’s questions as to why the girl was taken to a police station.
“She was terrified,” Jensen said about the ordeal. Speaking outside and pointing to her home, she added, “They brought her to the police station when her house is right there.”
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The police tried to call Jensen but when they couldn’t locate her, they took the girl to the police station, Roberts said.
“If we’re not able to locate the responsible adult and reunite the child with that person, then we’re going to bring them back where we’ve got the resources and the facilities to watch her and care for her,” Roberts said.
Said Jensen, pointing to her home, “They brought her to the police station when her house is right there.”
“She did nothing wrong,” Jensen said. “She’s followed all of my rules.”
The case has been refereed to DHSS.
What do you think? Should the mom be charged? Or did the police go too far? Share your thoughts in the section below:
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