Child Takes a Walk; Father Arrested for “Child Endangerment”

We only have one side of the story here, but it doesn’t look good. A father says that his children were in the habit of taking a church van every Sunday and Wednesday. The van would stop by their house and the children would board it to go to church. So one day he heard the kids go out and get in the van at the regular time.

What he didn’t know was that his eight-year-old had decided to skip church.

According to WCPO:

“My kids run in the house in the living room here and tell me, ‘Hey, Dad, the church van’s here. We’re leaving. We’re going on to church,’ ” Williamson said.

“I said, ‘OK.’ “

Williamson said he didn’t know Justin didn’t get on the bus.

“He just wanted to go play in the neighborhood,” he said.

Justin ended up at the Family Dollar store on busy Route 28 about a half mile from home.

Blanchester police were called. They say Justin didn’t know where he lived, and it was only after talking to a customer that they learned his address.

“That’s definitely totally, totally untrue,” Justin’s father said. “He knows his way around this whole neighborhood right here.”

Williamson said Blanchester police showed up at his door with Justin.

“I told the cop he goes out in the neighborhood and plays every day with all the other kids,” Williamson said. “There’s a million kids around here that play. I know the parents. The parents know me.”

The officer was still at the Williamson house when the church van dropped off the other Williamson children.

“The next thing you know, he comes up to me and he says, ‘You’re under arrest.’ My kids start crying their eyes out wondering why I’m getting arrested,”  Williamson said.

Williamson lost his job at McDonald’s after the story was on the front page of the paper.

I have a hard time believing that a fast food restaurant would care. But the story of the cops gratuitously arresting a parent seems similar to a report from Hawaii where a father was convicted in court because he made his son walk home from school.

The father says he will fight the charge in court. But if he is working a minimum-wage hourly job, I doubt he can afford a good lawyer. My guess is that the cops could figure out his income level and knew that they could arrest him without needing to fear that they would get in trouble.

We are getting to the point in this country that no parent really knows what he must do to stay out of jail.

(Hat tip: