Child abuse: Is sorry enough?

Is redemption enough? Photo via Kat Jackson.

A mother in Montreal Canada, age 25, was accused in 2006 of alleged child neglect and abuse when her then 18-month-old baby was found wandering an apartment complex by himself. He was found by a neighbor with a soiled diaper, covered in soot and inflicted with severe burns. Some of those burns were infected and were determined to have happened over an extended period of time.

The toddler was in so much pain, he was transported to the hospital and immediately given morphine upon arrival. The mother who can’t be identified due to a court order put in place to protect the identity of the victim, her son, was found asleep in her apartment when authorities went to look for her. Upon being questioned, it was clear she had no idea where her toddler son was and refused to visit him in the hospital. (Sounds like a real winner, right?)

The mother subsequently pleaded guilty to two counts of child abandonment and one count of child neglect. While the incident happened in 2006, she is still dealing with prior charges of drug trafficking on top of issuing threats in a court room as recent as 6 months ago.

Even after all this, a judge decided recently to give her a break. A big break. The prosecution wanted jail time, but the judge apparently thought jail was much too harsh. He let her go on the basis that she stopped doing crack in 2008. He also noted that she was trying to finish high school and that the real culprit of the alleged abuse was her prior drug problem and prostitution. Apparently, this Judge doesn’t find you accountable for your actions if you’re on drugs. He gave her a 2 year suspended sentence which is essentially probation.

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The only real consequence to her was that her child, who is almost 7 now, was taken from her care. She has two other children whom have remained in her care, something the judge said he took into account because she was able to care for them satisfactorily.

So, my question is, what’s the point? While some may argue the fact that she lost her son was punishment enough, if she didn’t want the responsibility to begin with, isn’t that more of a reward? Also, isn’t the victim, her young child, the one who has to live a life of punishment? That kind of neglect at such an early age has to live on for a lifetime. So, the baby gets an emotional life sentence and the mother gets parenting classes. What’s wrong with this picture? That is buuuuuuuuulllllshit!