We have repeatedly dealt with stories of parents who leave their children in cars while they gamble or party (here) or even commit criminal acts(here). This week, another such arrest was made near our school but this one involves clearly affluent parents who left their two toddlers — a 22-month-old boy and a slightly older girl — in a gray Volvo wagon while they went to a wine tasting at the upscale restaurant Ris. I hope the wine bouquet was satisfying because “the finish” was rough. They were both arrested and now face two counts of attempted second-degree cruelty to children, which carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence.
Christopher (“Christophe”) Daniel Lucas told police that he left an iPhone in the car with an open connection to the children’s mother, Jennie Teresa Chang. However, police say that the girl was crying hysterically and that the temperature was 35 degrees in a car that was turned off with no heat.
The car was left around a corner from the restaurant and around 400 feet from the door in a major traffic area. The manager said that the couple had been wine tasting for about an hour when police arrived.
Lucas, 41, and Chang, 46, own a $1 million rowhouse near Dupont Circle. They actually live 10 minutes from the restaurant and insisted that they were going out to check on the kids.
The court released the couple but they are being denied access to their children.
Notably, Washington seems to be on a theme regarding parenting and the criminal code. We just discussed a question of whether parents should be charged for allowing their children to walk home alone.
The question is what should the punishment be in such a case. Incarceration or a permanent loss of the children seem unduly harsh even though their actions were clearly outrageous and dangerous. However, forcing the children into foster homes would not necessarily be in their best interests if there are no other indications of endangerment or any abuse. That would leave probation and forced counseling or classes. That might seem too light for some people or the court.
What do you think?
Source: FOX DC