A mother in Arizona was charged with child abuse after she left her two young children in a locked car while she went to a job interview.
Shanesha Taylor, 35, claims that she's homeless, needed a job, and couldn't find anyone to watch her children when she went for the job interview in March, according to Phoenix's KSAZ-TV.
While some have criticized Taylor for her actions, thousands more are sympathetic to her plight. Supporters have raised more than $77,000 in donations to help her get back on her feet and pay her legal fees.
Felony Child Abuse Charges
Taylor's children, ages 2 years and 6 months, have been removed from her custody and she's facing felony child abuse charges, reports KSAZ-TV.
In Arizona, child abuse is defined as:
- Circumstances likely to produce death or serious injury;
- Causing a child to suffer physical injury; or
- Causing or permitting the health of a child to be injured, or placing a child in a situation in which the child may be endangered.
That statute also applies to the abuse of vulnerable adults. All offenses under Arizona's child abuse statute are considered felonies. While it's unclear what class of felony Taylor is being charged with, felonies are usually punishable by a year or more in prison.
Leaving Kids in Cars
While some states have statutes that charge parents and caretakers with a crime for leaving their kids in the car, Arizona doesn't have a statute like that, according to Phoenix's KPHO-TV. So in Arizona, it's not explicitly illegal to leave children alone in a car, though other laws can apply.
Like Arizona, New York also charges parents who leave their kids in freezing or sweltering vehicles with child endangerment. However, in California, there's a specific law that prohibits leaving children under the age of 6 inside a motor vehicle without the supervision of a person who is at least 12, if there are conditions present that could hurt the child.
A New Jersey woman set up a fundraising page for Taylor at YouCaring.com, and it is still accepting donations.