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Parents Charged With Child Neglect for Living Outside

Posted at June 7th, 2010 in Child Abuse, Child Neglect, Criminal Defense, Uncategorized

America is the land of the rich and plenty.  Anything we need is just a click away as an online purchase is available to buy just down the street at the local supermarket or mall.  Six-year-olds walk around texting on cell phones and a single family will own up to one car per household member.   Not all of the world lives this way or has access to so many resources and material goods.  Over half of the world’s population lives on less than $2.50 per day.  When a person emigrates from a third world country to the United States it must be a great shock to accustom oneself to the extravagance of the American standard of living.  This appears to be the case with Sherrine and Phillip Mathieu who were charged with 863 counts of child neglect for allegedly forcing their daughter to sleep, eat, and use the bathroom outside for over eight years.  The mother and father, who are immigrants from Haiti and the Bahamas, also allegedly lived in a car with their daughter outside of the house.  This is an extreme amount of charges for child neglect, and the Mathieu’s are going to be penalized by serious consequences unless a skilled criminal defense attorney takes their case and mitigates the 863 counts of child neglect that the couple is facing. 

There appears to be more assumptions than evidence supporting the allegations of child neglect against the Mathieu’s that a criminal attorney could uncover in order to reduce the criminal charges of child abuse.   Law enforcement is twisting the circumstances of the alleged child neglect in order to incriminate the couple to the greatest degree possible.  The charges against the Mathieu’s make it sound as if they were torturing their child by not allowing her to live in the house.  However, the Mathieu’s were not forcing their daughter to sleep outside while they lived luxuriously in the house, the whole family resided outdoors.  A criminal defense lawyer could show that living outdoors or in an unconventional dwelling does not warrant child abuse charges.  The family was legally living on their own property and at the most they could have been violating a city ordinance for sanitation.  However, the Mathieu’s will most likely not be able to avoid all criminal charges.  It is reported that their daughter has not been attending school and chronic truancy is a charge that can be punished by up to one year in jail or a fine in most states. 

The Mathieu’s may need an evaluation in order to determine their fitness as parents and to assess the validity of the child neglect allegations that their daughter is making against them.  Their daughter has allegedly fought with her mother on multiple occasions regarding their living conditions and the parents have allegedly told officials coming to inspect the house that their daughter sleeps inside on a bed.  It is possible that these allegations are nothing more than the words of a fitful teenager and that once a criminal attorney evaluates the evidence it will be found that the Mathieu’s cannot be charged with child neglect.  A criminal defense attorney is aware that many accusations of child abuse taken out of context or without explanation can appear horrendous.  That is why a criminal lawyer is necessary to show your side of the story in order to reduce or dismiss charges of child neglect or child abuse.

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