Keri Karman, 25, and Charles Karman, 61, were reportedly irritated by a two-year-old in a movie that kept asking for popcorn. Karman allegedly responded to the demand (and an argument with the mother) by dumping a bucket of popcorn on the child. They are now charged with endangering the welfare of a child.
They were watching“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” when things went from the theatrical to the criminal.
Police say that a woman next to the child tried to quiet the child, but the 28-year-old mother told her not to speak to her child. The facts are a bit sketchy but it appears that the mother accused Karman of starting to scream and putting her hand over the little girl’s mouth. The couple then left the movie after the child began to cry.
According to press reports, Keri Karman runs a dog walking service called Keri’s South Shore Dog Walking and pledges that she is “your pet’s second best friend.” That may not be a true for children as canines.
This is a misdemeanor in New York and the statutory language is quite general and easy to satisfy for actions taken against any child below the age of 17:
260.10 Endangering the welfare of a child.
A person is guilty of endangering the welfare of a child when:
1. He or she knowingly acts in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a child less than seventeen years old or directs or authorizes such child to engage in an occupation involving a substantial risk of danger to his or her life or health; or
2. Being a parent, guardian or other person legally charged with the care or custody of a child less than eighteen years old, he or she fails or refuses to exercise reasonable diligence in the control of such child to prevent him or her from becoming an “abused child,” a “neglected child,” a “juvenile delinquent” or a “person in need of supervision,” as those terms are defined in articles ten, three and seven of the family court act.
3. A person is not guilty of the provisions of this section when he or she engages in the conduct described in subdivision one of section 260.00 of this article: (a) with the intent to wholly abandon the child by relinquishing responsibility for and right to the care and custody of such child; (b) with the intent that the child be safe from physical injury and cared for in an appropriate manner; (c) the child is left with an appropriate person, or in a suitable location and the person who leaves the child promptly notifies an appropriate person of the child’s location; and (d) the child is not more than thirty days old.
Endangering the welfare of a child is a class A misdemeanor.
In reality, the misdemeanor endangerment charge may not be higher than an assault charge if it is brought in the third degree, which is also a class A misdemeanor. Assault in the Third Degree under NY PL 120.00(1) can be brought for intentional acts to cause some physical injury or reckless acts under New York Penal Law section 120.00(2) that cause such injury. However, second degree assault is a Class D felony. More importantly, there is a Class E felony assault charge for any aggravated assault on a minor under the age 11.
It appears that the prosecutors do not view a popcorn dump as rising to that level and view a misdemeanor charge as sufficient to punish this couple and deter others.
What do you think?