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Florida mother arrested after allowing son to walk alone to park

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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- A Florida mother is facing a child neglect charge after she allowed her son to walk to a local park alone.

"I'm totally dumbfounded by this whole situation," said Nicole Gainey, who on Sunday gave her son Dominic permission to walk from their house to Sportsman Park. "I honestly didn't think I was doing anything wrong, I was letting him go play."

The park is one-half mile from their home, about a 10- to 15-minute walk. Along the way, the 7-year-old passed a public pool and someone asked him where his mother was.

"They asked me a couple questions and I got scared so I ran off to the park and then they called the cops," Dominic said.

The boy was playing when Port St. Lucie Police pulled up.

"They said where does your mom live?" he said.

Police took him home and that's when his mother was arrested, charged with child neglect. Gainey says she was shocked.

"My own bondsman said my parents would have been in jail every day," she said.

The officer wrote in the report that Dominic was unsupervised at the park and that "numerous sex offenders reside in the vicinity."

"He just basically kept going over that there's pedophiles," Gainey said.

But Gainey says she believes Dominic is mature enough to go to the park alone during the day. She adds he always has a cellphone, which she calls to check on him.

Gainey plans to fight the felony charge, but after this, she won't let Dominic go to the park alone. She's afraid she'll be arrested again.



  • Neilious

    This is ridiculous. The mother is responsible for her child not the city or the state. If she feels her son is old enough to walk to the park that is her decision to make.

  • Karen

    This is ridiculous. The police had no right to do that. Whether you would do it has no bearing. This is a free country. If the law was so concerned, why did they let the pedophiles out?

    • davidf95

      Good point. maybe that is the “reason” they will not allow our kids to be outside alone. They let them out and make it the parents responsibility to keep them safe from them. Maybe in the future, the pedophiles will be the victims and the parents will be the suspect?

    • davidf95

      BTW. I mean that the pedophiles will blame the parents for allowing their children to run free around them. Which is violating their right to walk around without being motivated?

      I don’t know. None of this makes sense to me.

  • davidf95

    Oh, this is Florida. I already decided years ago I will never go to that state again, even though it’s my favorite, my father and cousins live there. Way to much corruption down there for me. Florida is off limits.

  • Shelly

    Then EVERY parent in my town should be in jail, with our school system if you live within a mile of school you are considered a walker. And this is elementary school, our high school and jr high schools are two miles. There are NO buses, and no sidewalks for safe walking.

  • Roxy Mountains

    This is insane – I know it was a different time but at his age I was wandering much further from home than that and had no cell phone to use – would have had to find a pay phone if I got in trouble. I knew what to watch out for and how to run or otherwise protect myself. My parents would have been in jail for life and I would have had a very dull and boring childhood.

  • Mallory

    When I was a kid, if you lived less than 2 miles from the elementary school, the bus service was not available and you had to walk if parents couldn’t take you. I was walking to school by the time I was 6. My mother would have been arrested every weekday… Twice each day!!!
    This officer was absolutely ridiculous!

  • Anonymous

    To sum up: Flori-duh! I truly want to know when it became a crime to let your kid go play outside. Bet you anything that at some point we’ll see a parent charged with neglect for allowing his/her child to stay indoors too many hours in a day. This is absolutely ridiculous.

  • Missy Langner

    You can’t let your child go play because there are pedophiles around? Hello? The problem -and the crime- is that there are pedophiles around! Lock them up forever and throw away the key. Or kill em’ all.

  • Jeff

    That is crazy. Pedophile should not be this close to school. And at most the officer should have done more drives not arrest the mom for this. Really hope the charge doesn’t stick

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