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Stranger gives child cocaine, mother arrested

Endangering a child is a criminal offense in Pennsylvania, and a recent case from Scranton shows why. A woman who thought she was only going to visit neighbors in the same apartment building now finds herself charged with a serious crime.

According to an account given to police by the 11-year-old child who was involved, her mother had left her and her four-year-old brother alone in their apartment while she visited with neighbors in an upstairs apartment. At about 1:45 a.m., the girl heard a knock on the common door that served all apartments. An unknown man entered the apartment and walked into the kitchen. He took a seat at the kitchen table and opened a 40-oz. bottle of beer. The girl was unsure what she should do, and she remained in the kitchen with the stranger. The man then filled a spoon with a white powder from a bag he had been carrying. The girl swallowed the contents of the spoon and then drank water to kill the after taste. The girl then ran to a neighbor's apartment for help. The neighbor found the man in the kitchen and told him to leave. The man ran out of the apartment but left the bag of white power, a cellphone, and a cellphone charger. The neighbor also called the police.

The children were taken into custody by the Lackawanna County Office of Youth and Family Services; the girl was also hospitalized but her medical condition was not disclosed. When the mother returned to the apartment, she found the police there. She seemed surprised to learn that she had committed a crime by leaving her young children alone. The mother was arrested and charged with two counts of endangering a child. She is currently in the Lackawanna County Prison in lieu of a $5,000 bond. The strange man is still at large.

Anyone who has been charged with endangering a child may wish to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. Such a consultation can provide helpful advice on the seriousness of the charges, the possible penalties, and the chances of obtaining a favorable plea agreement or an outright acquittal.

Source: Scranton Times-Tribune, "Police seek man who fed girl cocaine in South Scranton," Joseph Kohut, June 30, 2015

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