Parents Not Always Held Responsible For Kids' Actions - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

05/24/05 - East Texas

Parents Not Always Held Responsible For Kids' Actions

by Ramonica R. Jones

The six-year-old kindergarten student accused of touching his classmates' private parts at the Early Childhood Development Center in Crockett is not in trouble with the law. His parents may not be either.

State law says no child under age 10 can be charged with a crime - no matter what the crime is.

Lufkin Police Lt. Greg Denman, said, "There may be lateral charges that can be filed; [charges that] have to do with something that the child [is] learning things from, or seeing, or that the parents have that the child has access to, but nothing as far as the actual touching goes."

It's easy for police and prosecutors to go after a parent that gives a child easy access to a gun, drugs or anything else illegal, but in a case of inappropriate touching, it's hard to blame the parents.

"There could be something in the home, or some place else that the child is, that [has made them] become curious about these things, or [they may] have seen things done or seen these things happen; that's pretty much what you're looking for, is the cause of why this child knows about these things or is doing these things."

The police may not be able to punish kids under 10 for their crimes, but parents can take responsibility. Experts suggest paying close attention to what your kids see and do. That way, a child may be less likely to cross the line.

The boy accused of last week's sexual assault in Crockett got a three day suspension.

The parents who say their kids were victims now plan to file a petition to get rid of the Crockett school superintendent and the principal of the Early Childhood Development Center.

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