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Author Topic: Obese Teen, Mom Charged With Criminal Neglect  (Read 8692 times)

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Offline RhapsodyTopic starter

Obese Teen, Mom Charged With Criminal Neglect
« on: July 22, 2009, 09:01:44 AM »
There is currently a woman in South Carolina who has been arrested and charged with criminal neglect because her teenage son weighs 555 pounds.  She works, and works a lot, so she isn't often home, and she did admit that she brings home fast food because she's often too tired to cook after being on her feet all day.  The lawyers say that it's been claimed that the kid eats several lunches at school, and snacks throughout the day that his friends give him.  But South Carolina is convinced that she's neglected the medical needs of her son, so now he's in foster care, and she's in jail awaiting trial.

While I'm sure there are a few voices that shout "crucify her", the facts of the case are a little more shaded in grey.  As CNN brought up in this video, what kind of precedent is going to be set if this woman is convicted of criminal neglect for having an obese teen?   It's going to open up a whole can of worms, setting precedent and case law for prosecuting parents if their kids have an eating disorder, end up pregnant or getting someone pregnant... The possibilities go on and on. 

Anyone with kids can tell you that, at the end of the day, there's only so much we can do to instill values and responsibilities in our children.  There's only so much we can do to punish them when they step out of line.  Eventually, it comes down to the kid's choices as well as the parent's influence.  Is the woman responsible for the immense weight of her son?  In part, yes.  But in the end, doesn't it also come down to the kid's choices to eat four or five lunches a day, and all those snacks his buddies passed him?  If we're looking to spread the blame, then shouldn't his friends who supplied him with food also be rounded up and charged with conspiracy?

Where is this going to end?  Nowhere good, that's where.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Obese Teen, Mom Charged With Criminal Neglect
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2009, 10:12:42 AM »
As long as the son is able to get around on his own and is not fully dependent on his mother for food, he shares responsibility for his condition.  I've seen two extremes on DHC where a parent could have been charged with neglect - one was a toddler who came down with scurvy because his naive parents only fed him what he wanted to eat (oatmeal) and the other was a woman whose son was so obese that he a) couldn't get out of bed and b) had to have a veterinary crane used to get him into the freight elevator up to the hospital ICU.

I definitely think that this mother should take an active role in helping her son shed pounds - contacting these 'friends' who give him lunches and snacks should be high on the list, and if she has to go fast-food, order the kid a salad, or do take-out from a different, healthier restaurant.  Most places that do takeout will have it ready for you if you call ahead.

Offline Elayne

Re: Obese Teen, Mom Charged With Criminal Neglect
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2009, 12:08:12 PM »
Does anyone remember that case where the woman sued McDonalds after she bought a coffee and it spilled in her lap?  Remind how she got millions and people thought it was absurd that McDonalds would have to label their coffee as hot because this woman was so stupid?

What most people don't realize is that there was a construction site across the street from that McDonalds and the workers were buying coffee in the morning for their thermoses.  So, the McDonalds was actually making pots of coffee that were SUPER hot (boiling) to fill these thermoses and last for the day.  When the employing picked up the wrong pot and poured it in the woman's reusable container, being that it was boiling, it immediately singed her fingers, causing her to drop it in her lap, where the heat was so intense that it melted her labia and required her to get a skin graft.

So, the woman WASN'T stupid.  McDonalds made a mistake that inflicted permanent damage on her because they were the ones who were stupid.

This is the same sort of case.  People are sitting there saying "Well, it's stupid to sue and punish a woman for her children being fat."

What they aren't telling you is that she WASN'T charged for her child being overweight.  She was charged because she FLED FROM AN OUTSTANDING WARRANT, CROSSING STATE LINES.

So the reason she's facing criminal charges is not because of her child's weight, it's because she removed her child from custody and fled with him to Maryland.

Offline Jude

Re: Obese Teen, Mom Charged With Criminal Neglect
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2009, 03:54:26 PM »
Thanks for that Elayne.  It's really sad but stuff like this happens all the time in the news.  You get a really shallow look at the situation usually, and there are often details "missing" from the situation.  However people who are looking to make a political point (left or right) love to take that non-descript look and make it sound like it's something it's not.  Bill O'Reilly especially loves to do this.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Obese Teen, Mom Charged With Criminal Neglect
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2009, 04:42:07 PM »
Why not sue the school for letting the teen buy extra food? Friends parents because the friends gave them extra food? etc.

Does the parent have health coverage to get medical care to reduce the childs weight nutritionists and the like?

Seems odd just singling her out when many parents have obese children.

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Re: Obese Teen, Mom Charged With Criminal Neglect
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2009, 05:52:37 PM »
So, what was the warrant for?

Offline Mathim

Re: Obese Teen, Mom Charged With Criminal Neglect
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2009, 05:58:15 PM »
If it was a single parent I can understand not being around often enough to cook nutritiously or be able to take care of oneself properly, having been in a situation similar to that and being that both my mother and I were obese as far back as I can remember. I mean, I think a simple intervention by the school would have been an adequate solution, either having a counselor refer the mom or the kid to a cooking or exercise class/program so that if one of the two of them couldn't do something, the other could. The problem is everyone is so afraid of being sued by everyone else that they won't dare try to help anyone else.

Offline Alexei

Re: Obese Teen, Mom Charged With Criminal Neglect
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2009, 08:24:37 PM »
Actually, you're kind of right. She was arrested on an outstanding warrant, but it was a combination of a bench warrent for failure to appear at a DSS hearing, and crossing state lines...not custody. She was being investigated for exactly what Rhapsody said. This was taken directly from the associated press article:

"The South Carolina Department of Social Services contacted deputies Tuesday after Gray failed to make a scheduled court appearance so officials could begin investigating claims of child neglect and endangerment."

At the time she ran, they hadn't taken the boy from her yet. Odds are, she panicked about the investigation and ran. But me personally, I guess I refuse to pass judgement till I hear everyone's side of the story. *shrugs* Not surprising she ran. Single mom, against "the system"? Barely enough money to pay her bills, let alone a lawyer? Guess I can see why she might have panicked.

Offline Serephino

Re: Obese Teen, Mom Charged With Criminal Neglect
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2009, 09:04:40 PM »
I think that's a bit over the top.  Is the woman at least partially responsible for her son's weight?  Definately.  There were other things she could've fed her kid other than fast food.  I got lunch at McDonald's today and the nutrition information was printed right on the side of the box, so no excuses there. 

But criminal charges?  Come on....  They'd do better to educate the mom and son.  Obviously she can't monitor him 24/7 and he's the one getting extra food from his friends.

Offline Destiny Ascension

Re: Obese Teen, Mom Charged With Criminal Neglect
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2009, 10:40:04 PM »
*sigh*

Fat kid is fat and mom is to blame....

Why isn't anyone blaming McDonalds or anything anymore? Or are we bored of that now...?

Offline Alexei

Re: Obese Teen, Mom Charged With Criminal Neglect
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2009, 10:57:44 PM »
It is a joke destiny. We had a guy here in our state...tried to sue Wendys, McDonalds and BK cause HE was obese and had heart disease. First thing out of the local reporter's mouth:

"Those places DO sell salads"

Offline Destiny Ascension

Re: Obese Teen, Mom Charged With Criminal Neglect
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2009, 12:13:12 AM »
It is a joke destiny. We had a guy here in our state...tried to sue Wendys, McDonalds and BK cause HE was obese and had heart disease. First thing out of the local reporter's mouth:

"Those places DO sell salads"

LOL!

We can blame everyone for Global Warming, but for making a big portion of Americans obese...there exists no scapegoats except their parents?

*facepalm*

Offline Phoenix

Re: Obese Teen, Mom Charged With Criminal Neglect
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2009, 10:08:11 AM »
Oh boy, don't get me started on the problems with child "services" in this country.

First off, people in a rush to see her lose her child need to remember a few facts. First off, a parent is responsible for their child, NOT THE STATE. When you get in line to see someone lose the rights to their child, then don't cry foul when the state makes up a reason to come to YOUR door, and take YOUR child.

After all, the state knows best, right?

The problem here is a social disease. That social disease is that it's made so very difficult for people to care for their children. This woman worked all the time. Constantly.

And for what? A Mercedes Benz? Doubtful. Probably for an old wreck of a car, a dive of an apartment, and barely enough to make the bills from month to month.

Yet if she didn't do that... if she didn't work so constantly that she never saw her child and didn't have enough energy left over to cook for him... they'd scream neglect then, too... and take her to the chopping block for being a lazy welfare cow.

Of course she ran. Someone was about to STEAL HER CHILD FROM HER. If you don't have kids, then maybe you can't understand why such a thing would make you run away.

But anyone with kids who looks down their snotty nose at this mother, had better go give up their children for adoption. Right now. Because you don't love your kids enough if you can't understand why someone would flee at the idea of their child being stolen from them.

And that's all this is. The state put her in an untenable position. You can't get enough aid to REALLY get back on your feet-- as soon as you START getting on your feet, the rug is pulled out from under you and you're thrown to the wolves.

So she was doing her best, working nonstop, so tired she couldn't even cook in the evening. All for this child, to make ends meet, to keep her family together.

And this is what she gets for it.

How about everyone who thinks she was wrong for fleeing after she has given her ALL to support and protect this child when she was in fear of him being stolen from her, just give up their kids right now. Maybe a few days without them will start to open your eyes.

There is NO GREATER agony than losing a child. Not a spouse (I know, I've lost one), not a parent (I know, I've lost two), no loss compares to the loss of a child. It is a soul-devouring agony beyond any that can be IMAGINED by those who haven't lost a child.

Of course she ran. Anyone with good sense, who loves their child, would be horrified and terrified at just the THOUGHT of losing their child.

God help her, and her son, too.

Offline RhapsodyTopic starter

Re: Obese Teen, Mom Charged With Criminal Neglect
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2009, 10:19:36 AM »
But criminal charges?  Come on....  They'd do better to educate the mom and son.  Obviously she can't monitor him 24/7 and he's the one getting extra food from his friends.

There was mention in the video I linked that she was given the equivalent of a thirty thousand dollar grant to enroll her son in a weight-loss program out of state.  She packed up her car, drove up there, knocked on the door and was told "ma'am, we did not know your son weighed over 500 pounds.  Our program is not set up for that, and I'm sorry but we're going to have to turn you away."  This is allegedly considered "not taking advantage of all the options", and is another black mark against her in the case.  How is that right?

Offline GothicFires

Re: Obese Teen, Mom Charged With Criminal Neglect
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2009, 10:23:38 AM »
When your child gets to be 500 pounds you're not doing your best. I don't care how many jobs you are working and for what reasons you are working them.

it's not excusable, there are no acceptable reasons

she brought him bad food because it was easy for her, she let him stuff his mouth because it was easy for her, she didn't pay attention to his activities or get him moving and motivated because it was easy for her.

Yes she might have had to struggle with two jobs but that does not alleviate the the responsibilities of being a parent. When you are a parent you are responsible for housing, clothing and health (both emotional and physical) care for a child. If you are having difficulties then it is your responsibility to figure how how to correct those difficulties regardless of what she had to go through.

A mistake would be letting the child eat unhealthy for maybe a month while she was figuring out a workable solution. Letting the kid get up to 500 lbs is far beyond doing the best she can.

Offline Phoenix

Re: Obese Teen, Mom Charged With Criminal Neglect
« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2009, 10:48:50 AM »
That's all very easy to say. If it were as easy as you claim it is, however; she wouldn't be in the situation she's in right now, nor would the child.

It's easy to say "you do whatever you have to do, no matter the personal cost," but it's a hell of a lot harder to apply that when it's you paying that personal cost.

Offline GothicFires

Re: Obese Teen, Mom Charged With Criminal Neglect
« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2009, 10:52:48 AM »
i never said it was easy to do the right thing. It is an obligation you have as a parent despite how difficult it may be. It is something you have to do regardless of how difficult it is.

Offline RhapsodyTopic starter

Re: Obese Teen, Mom Charged With Criminal Neglect
« Reply #17 on: July 23, 2009, 11:04:58 AM »
she let him stuff his mouth because it was easy for her, she didn't pay attention to his activities or get him moving and motivated because it was easy for her.

I will point out that it was stated that the kid was eating several lunches at school, and had friends who were passing him snacks.  I think that, at least, is completely out of the purview of the mother, and is mostly on the kid. 

I'm not completely absolving her of blame, but the fact remains that if she sends him to school with one lunch, and he finds three or four more to eat via his friends, how is that her fault?

Offline Phoenix

Re: Obese Teen, Mom Charged With Criminal Neglect
« Reply #18 on: July 23, 2009, 11:07:40 AM »
Not everyone has the tools, resources, or knowledge to meet all of their obligations.

Instead of taking the woman's child away, a better method would be to educate and help her. THEN, if she continues to fail, at that time, the choice should be made, with all seriousness and awareness of what a horrific blow it is to the child, to allow someone else to raise the child.

Losing your parents, even if you're fat, is horribly, terribly traumatic. It can destroy your life. And to be both overweight like that, AND to lose his mother, could be a blow that destroys him immediately.

The removal of children from their families is treated FAR too casually in our society.  It's horrific. It's an abomination, and it should be done in the very extreme instances. Especially when the alternative is the foster care system. The foster care system in this country results almost universally in children who end up on drugs, and worse. Most children in foster care are abused as badly, if not worse, by foster carers or by other children in the foster care situation with them.

Obesity is bad. It's painful, unhealthy, and emotionally devastating.

Being abused sexually, physically, and in other ways after having been wrenched from the arms of your well-meaning but incompetent mother, so far surpasses it in trauma, that it hardly even compares.

That mother needs help and education. But if she loves her child, then there is a huge chance that she can be helped to help him. THAT will help the child FAR more than simply taking him away and throwing him into a system that is rife with cruelty and abuse.

Offline GothicFires

Re: Obese Teen, Mom Charged With Criminal Neglect
« Reply #19 on: July 23, 2009, 11:11:54 AM »
So the fact that she saw her kid getting larger and didn't put a stop to it is supposed to be ignored?

if her child needed more supervision at school during lunch then she should have made sure he got it.

I agree that parents need to be better educated, but that does not take away the fact that adults can and should seek out that education on their own. If nothing else there is no cost to check out a library book. There are counselors at most schools.

I can't say for certain if I agree about taking the child away, but if she did not seek help on his behalf to see if it was a medical condition. If she did not try to correct his nutrition then she needs to be held responsible.

Offline RhapsodyTopic starter

Re: Obese Teen, Mom Charged With Criminal Neglect
« Reply #20 on: July 23, 2009, 11:20:01 AM »
I can't say for certain if I agree about taking the child away, but if she did not seek help on his behalf to see if it was a medical condition. If she did not try to correct his nutrition then she needs to be held responsible.

There was mention in the video I linked that she was given the equivalent of a thirty thousand dollar grant to enroll her son in a weight-loss program out of state.  She packed up her car, drove up there, knocked on the door and was told "ma'am, we did not know your son weighed over 500 pounds.  Our program is not set up for that, and I'm sorry but we're going to have to turn you away."  This is allegedly considered "not taking advantage of all the options", and is another black mark against her in the case.  How is that right?

Offline GothicFires

Re: Obese Teen, Mom Charged With Criminal Neglect
« Reply #21 on: July 23, 2009, 11:22:05 AM »
This could have been managed way before he weighed 500 pounds.

Offline Phoenix

Re: Obese Teen, Mom Charged With Criminal Neglect
« Reply #22 on: July 23, 2009, 11:24:59 AM »
Of course she does, to some degree.

But removal of the child is what I'm talking about, not a few days in jail, some public service and mandatory classes, whatever.

Removal of a child from the parents is NOT the answer in a case where the mother is overworked and exhausted. When the mother is beating the child, okay.

But again, these are social problems. We don't take obesity as seriously as we should. Yet on the other hand, when it comes aggressively to the fore like in this case, we conversely over-react to it by taking the child away, as if the mental health of the child is meaningless in face of the horror of obesity. On the one hand, we treat it like it's terrible and horrific and obese people are monsters... yet on the other hand we treat most overweight people as if they are the proverbial elephant in the living room. We must never speak of their obesity because it might upset them.

A more appropriate approach needs to be found. Obesity is a serious thing. But it's NOT so serious that a child should be removed because of it. The horrific effects of being taken from their family far outweighs the effects of being obese.

Do I think she needs mandatory courses? YES!

Do I think that some community service is in line for her and him both? YES!

Do I think that removing the boy from his mother is the answer for either of them? NO!

They both also need counseling. And maybe some support to get that mother into college so she can get a job that doesn't require her to neglect her son in order to afford to raise her son.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Obese Teen, Mom Charged With Criminal Neglect
« Reply #23 on: July 23, 2009, 12:11:07 PM »
And consider this for the kid.

How do you think his esteem will take being the reason your mom goes to jail (because you are fat) and that you were SO fat they took him away from family.

That has to be a crushing feeling to him.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Obese Teen, Mom Charged With Criminal Neglect
« Reply #24 on: July 23, 2009, 12:33:41 PM »
What about going to a real restaurant for carry out?

When I was sick in bed my SO went a local restaurant called the St. Petersburg Ale House got me a flame broiled burger on a wheat roll (added low fat cheese here at home) and a cup of excellent potato soup and cost us around $6.00. And far more healthy than those fast food places.

In fact I cut the burger in half and heated it up for lunch the next day.

And I know McD HAS good food I'm fond of the fruit salad and nuts for lunch with a diet cola (or just as often a nice water).

And I will add this stop blaming the mother and college is not always the option here either not every can go to a decent college and earn a college degree their aptitudes may not suit that. And it takes time, money and this parent is in a bind now. If you haven't gotten the message in the media there are fewer jobs a parent may have to work two or three part-time jobs to survive I blame the government. They regulated business so to death the manufacturing jobs that paid well left leaving modestly skilled people without work. Why blame this mother for working she is doing her job and has to do that. At least she is not on welfare and I don't want her to be, as a taxpayer.