Florida mom arrested for allowing 7-year-old son to go to park alone

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Port St. Lucie, FL — A mom faces a charge of child neglect after she allowed her son to go to a local park alone. She says he’s old enough but Port St. Lucie Police disagree. Now she’s fighting back.

“I’m totally dumbfounded by this whole situation,” says Nicole Gainey.

It began last Saturday afternoon when Gainey gave her son Dominic permission to walk from their house to Sportsman’s Park .

“Honestly didn’t think I was doing anything wrong,” says Gainey, “I was letting him go play.

It’s a half mile from their Port St. Lucie home. Dominic says it only takes him about 10 to 15 minutes to get there. During the walk, the 7-year-old passed a public pool. Someone there asked him where his mom was.

“They asked me a couple questions and I got scared so I ran off to the park and they called the cops,” says Dominic Guerrisi.

Dominic was playing at the park when an officer pulled up.

“They said ‘where does your mom live,’ ” says Dominic.

Police took him home. That’s when his mom was arrested and charged with child neglect. Gainey says she was shocked.

“My own bondsman said my parents would have been in jail every day,” says Gainey who paid nearly $4,000 to bond out.

The officer wrote in the report that Dominic was unsupervised at the park and that “numerous sex offenders reside in the vicinity.”

“He just basically kept going over that there’s pedophiles and this and that and basically the park wasn’t safe and he shouldn’t be there alone,” says Gainey.

She believes Dominic is mature enough to go to the park alone during the day. Gainey adds her son always has a cell phone which she calls to check on him.

“That I’m here and safe,” says Dominic.

Gainey plans to fight the felony charge. But after this she won’t let Dominic go to the park alone. She’s afraid she’ll be arrested again.

The St. Lucie County State’s Attorney’s office says there is no law that specifies how old a child has to be before he or she can go somewhere unsupervised. It’s done on a case-by-case basis.
TM & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


    • Angela

      Yep, it is ridiculous! NO CHILD should be walking a half mile to a park alone, especially a 7 year old. In this day and age, there are too many factors to make any sensible human being know that it is not safe. Most (again, reasonably good) parents whose children walk to school, the kids don’t walk alone, the parents WALK WITH THEM!

      • J.J. McCampbell

        A felony? Ridiculous. My kids had bikes and cell phones, starting at 7 years old, and they were all over the place. I would call regularly, and they would call in as well. I didn’t like them going places alone, however, and I would insist that they be part of a group of friends. But to charge this woman with a felony shows that the law is overstepping it’s bounds.

      • DBerry

        Until a child is kidnapped raped and murdered. Then..it’s the parent’s fault or the law not being tough enough. Bottom line..WATCH YOUR KIDS OR DON’T HAVE THEM

  • Karen

    What do you expect from a place that lets you shot someone who dies, and then lets them walk away free and clear.

  • Glynda Rice

    With the number of children being picked up, molested and sometimes killed, I would never allow a 7 yr. old go to a park alone. You cannot be too cautious.

  • Teresa Roraback

    She is not a criminal, she may not have used the best judgement but that should not be a felony. I live in a small town and we don’t have very much crime, so we just don’t have the same mindset as people who live in larger cities.

  • Stacy Peebles

    I was allowed to do this as a child too, bu times have changed. When I was a child we played outside from sun up until sun down and my parents never knew where we were and we had no cell phone to call. When it started getting dark we knew to go home. However, today is different. There are too many child abductions on a daily basis, sex offenders that are every where (even within your church) and other hidden dangers to children. Sadly to say they can not go alone anymore in a little or big town. I wish my children could have known the type child hood I had, but I could not risk this and watched them like a hawk. I barely allowed them to play outside without being supervised on a continuous basis. It is simply to risky and not worth the gamble.

  • Stephanie landrum

    My kids are 10 and 8 I don’t let them go out side by them self. Anything can happen letting them just out in front of your home or letting them walk to the park. Thats why my eyes are on my kids all the time.

Comments are closed.