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Boy faces charges for not watching brother

A 16-year-old boy was recently arrested on juvenile crime charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The incident started after the boy's mother left their home and left her teenager in charge of a 4-year-old child and two others. When employees of a convenience store contacted their local sheriff's office to report a preschooler wandering in the store, a sheriff's deputy responded to the call.

When the deputy reached the store, he learned that the young boy allegedly entered the store without an adult or anyone older. When he selected some items and took them to the checkout stand, the clerk asked who had accompanied him. He did not answer.

The child nodded yes when the deputy asked if he had walked there by himself. The deputy, seeking to find where the child lived, put the boy in his police cruiser and asked the boy to help him find his house.

Once there, the deputy allegedly found the 16-year-old brother and asked him if he knew how his brother arrived at the store. He said he didn't know, and the deputy inquired about adult supervision. He said his mother had left earlier and that he had joined some friends behind the home, also leaving two other children, ages 2 and 9, alone in the house.

Reached by phone, the mother told the deputy that she had paid her son $10 to babysit the children; the deputy told her she should come home and care for her children.

The mother faces a misdemeanor criminal charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The mother should not have left her son in charge without receiving his assurances that he would care for the children and not have friends over. She also should have better assessed his maturity level at handling such a responsibility. Who is more responsible in this situation, the teen or the mother?

Source: Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, "Mother, son arrested," Cal Bryant, Oct. 8, 2012

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