Child Cruelty & Neglect Charges Filed Against Preschool Administrator in Plainfield New Jersey
Plainfield NJ Endangering the Welfare of a Child Defense Lawyer
Former Prosecutors That Defend Child Cruelty & Endangering Charges in Union County New Jersey
In a truly bizarre case that calls into question the mental stability of a preschool administrator came to light last week. It appears that the Director of Plaintfield’s Dawn to Dusk Christian Childcare and Learning Center, Adetokunbo O. Akinnaso, pulled a knife on two 4-year-old preschoolers who were misbehaving. Akinnaso threatened the children with harm if they kept misbehaving. The children were not, however, harmed by Akinnaso.
Following the incident, the Union County Prosecutor’s Office charged Akinnaso with two counts of Cruelty or Neglect of a Child. The childcare center where this occurred is a private institution, and the Plainfield school district has no role in hiring staff for the center, although it does provide resources for children who attend the center. The Union County Prosecutor’s Office learned of the case through the State Department of Children and Families Institutional Abuse Investigation Unit.
The Offense of Cruelty or Neglect of Children in Union County
The crime of cruelty or neglect of children is found at New Jersey statute N.J.S.A. 9:6-3. The statute has several parts, as follows:
- Cruelty or neglect is a fourth-degree crime. “Any parent, guardian or person having the care, custody or control of any child, who shall abuse, abandon, be cruel to or neglectful of such child, or any person who shall abuse, be cruel to or neglectful of any child shall be deemed to be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.”
- Fines. “If a fine be imposed, the court may direct the same to be paid in whole or in part to the parent, or to the guardian, custodian or trustee of such minor child or children.”
- Custody in the Best Interest of the Child. “[W]henever in the judgment of the court it shall appear to the best interest of the child to place it in the temporary care or custody of a society or corporation, organized or incorporated under the laws of this State, having as one of its objects the prevention of cruelty to children, and the society or corporation is willing to assume such custody and control, the court may postpone sentence and place the child in the custody of such society or corporation, and may place defendant on probation, either with the county probation officers or an officer of the society or corporation to which the child is ordered, and may order the parent, guardian or person having the custody and control of such child to pay to such society or corporation a certain stated sum for the maintenance of such child.”
The takeaway from this statute is that cruelty or neglect of a child – such as brandishing a knife at a child as a form of discipline – is a fourth-degree crime, which carries with it a possible prison sentence of up to 18 months, and a fine of up to $10,000. Accordingly, defendant Akinnaso may have to pay a stiff penalty and is facing significant prison time. The truth is that these types of situations usually also result in a charge for Endangering the Welfare of a Child. The consequences of this offense can be extremely and you can find a detailed discussion of Union County Endangering the Welfare of a Child by clicking here.
Union County Child Cruelty or Neglect Attorneys
The Akinnaso case demonstrates how an incident of very poor judgment can change a person’s life. The director of a preschool now faces fines and possible jail time for her offense. If you have been charged with any offenses against a young person, you need to have a lawyer who is experienced and understands how to evaluate a case to reach the best outcome for his client. The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have decades of experience representing clients in all types of criminal matters, including cruelty and neglect cases. Our attorneys will evaluate the facts of your case and advise you on the best defense strategy possible. Call us for a free case review with one of our highly experienced defense lawyers. Lawyers are available 24/7 by contacting our Union Office or Cranford Office at 908-272-1700. With a charge as sensitive as cruelty or neglect, you need to understand your legal options from a seasoned criminal litigator.