Monday 5 December 2016

Mum who left baby in church won't face charges

Rachael Alexander

Published 27/11/2015 | 02:30

The newborn baby boy found at the Holy Child of Jesus Church in the Richmond Hill section of Queens, in New York
The newborn baby boy found at the Holy Child of Jesus Church in the Richmond Hill section of Queens, in New York

A mother who left her newborn son in a manger at a New York City church will not face criminal charges for giving him up, a prosecutor said.

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A sacristan found the crying infant on Monday with his umbilical cord still attached, wrapped in towels and placed in the indoor nativity scene at the Holy Child Jesus Church in Queens, New York police said.

The baby's mother was located by police and Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said she would not be prosecuted because she gave up the child in accordance with the state's 'Safe Haven' law.

Surveillance video footage reportedly showed a woman carrying the baby into the church and then leaving, just days before America celebrates its Thanksgiving holiday.

New York State law allows a parent to abandon a newborn baby during the first 30 days of its life - anonymously and without fear of prosecution - if the baby is left in a safe manner.

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Charges can be waived if the infant is left with an appropriate person or in a suitable location and the parent promptly informs an appropriate person of its location.

A hospital, staffed police or fire station are listed as suitable locations.

Police said they were investigating.

Yesterday, Father Christopher Heanue, the parish priest, posted this message online: "Let us pray for this child, for his parents and for whomever will receive him into their home," he wrote on Facebook.

Officials are not yet sure of the mother's identity and the child is being cared for at a hospital.

Irish Independent

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