Free-Range Kids

Mom Charged With Endangerment for Letting 7-Year-Old Play in Park Right Across the Street

Cops took the kid to the precinct, rather than her house.


A 7-year-old in Westbrook, Maine, was playing at the park within eyesight of her family's house. Someone called 911 (of course) and the police swooped in. They took the girl to the precinct because, as this WMTW reporter notes, "Mom wasn't watching."

What? Mom didn't devote her afternoon to sitting at the side of the park and watching her child's every move?  Tsk, tsk. The child was on her own for about an hour, and as Police Chief Janine Roberts told the reporter, "That's a long time for a 7-year-old girl to be by herself any place, let alone a park."

Yes, the park is certainly the last place you'd ever want to see a kid hanging out. What kind of crazy mom would let her child go there?

The mother's name is Nicole Jensen. She stressed that her kids check in with her every hour, and the park is usually filled with other parents, who take turns watching each other's children.

Jensen has been charged with child endangerment.

Roberts was glad that the officers were able to "reunite" the mother and child—as if they had endured Hurricane Katrina, or something. She also thanked her department for having all the necessary "resources and facilities" to save this kid, even though the officers could have literally walked the girl across the street to her house if they were so concerned.

Let's hope Jensen has learned her lesson:  Parks aren't for kids! They're for real estate values. They're props. You're not supposed to let your kids actually, you know, play, in them.

If you watch to the end of the video, the reporter, David Charns, notes that the little girl and her brother are headed straight back to the park.

The little recidivists! Will they never learn?

NEXT: Obamacare and the Perils of Conservative Judicial Restraint

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  1. …the park is usually filled with other parents, who take turns watching each other’s children.

    Susan Smith was a parent.

    1. …dropping kids off at the pool.


  2. The child was on her own for about an hour, and as Police Chief Janine Roberts told the reporter, “That’s a long time for a 7-year-old girl to be by herself any place, let alone a park.”

    “And don’t even get me started about her *sleeping* alone!”

  3. She stressed that her kids check in with her every hour…

    A lot can apparently happen in an hour. Sounds like Chief Janine needs to take her legal parental duties a little more seriously.

    1. Sounds like Chief Janine needs to make her take her legal parental duties a little more seriously. (I apologize for any distress this omission caused.)

  4. Before long the government will start kidnapping our children from our own front yards if we’re not out their hovering over them

    1. That would happen if *jobs* programs were really organized. So…don’t worry to much.

    2. It’s already happened. Didn’t the cops grab a kid who was playing basketball in his own yard while waiting for his mom to get home and let him in?

      1. His parents weren’t home though. I mean while we’re home, but not outside with them.

        1. I am, frankly, shocked this hasn’t happened. I live in a nice area with tall fences, and my kids like the play outside without parents. Frankly, I think it is only a matter of time before this happens, that the kid is allowed to play alone outside in a locked, fenced yard.

    3. Wait, so will this work like Trash pick up, I just leave my kids out on the curb when I’m tired of them and the cops come pick them up, or do I like have to call and schedule a pickup?

      1. I think it depends on size. Under 60 and the passing patrol car will just snatch them up. Over and you’ve got to make a special call.

  5. So you are saying that the unsupervised child has NOT been raped, murdered and eaten y an ISIS sympathist serial murdering pederast? I don’t believe you. That’s exactly what happens to every single unsupervised child.

  6. Parents just need to learn that parks are dangerous places. They’re full of people who want to hurt your children and take them away — friends, progs, police, etc.

    1. Only hell is for children.

      1. Hit ’em with your best shot.

      2. …expand on that thought?

  7. But parents are free to hormonally mutilate their kids in Maine.…..ia-n382701

    1. I am always very suspicious of these cases, and whether they’re really a genderized version of Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy: at least one of the parents is subtly guiding and reinforcing the child’s “spontaneous” gender choice.

      Listen to the mother: “At just 5 years old, she would look in the mirror in the bathroom and say, ‘I am a girl in my head and heart.'”

      That’s not the way a five-year-old talks without extensive coaching or indoctrination.

  8. Every time I read a story like this I have to wonder who are these busybodies that feel some need to call the police. The kicker is the person probably knows the family and if they were so damn concerned they would have brought the kid home. SMH.

    1. “If your dog relieves itself on my lawn again, I will place an anonymous phone call to summon a SWAT team to your house and have your children taken from you at gun point,” thought the nice old lady who waved at you as you walked your dog passed her house.

    2. Likely someone with a family member employed by CPS that wants to keep sucking on the private sector taxpayer teat.

      1. The taxpayer teat is quadruple D by now.

    3. I have a few theories for why people dial 911 like this:
      1. They watch too much TV, and they think of it as an opportunity to call in David Caruso or Andy Griffith, when they’re more likely to get Don Knotts
      2. The child is bothering them for some reason, and they want the child to go away or be supervised by someone else
      3. 911 is typically a free option for dialing up some level of bureaucratic drama for people too boring or stupid to find something better to do
      4. Government sells itself constantly as the security blanket that takes care of all things, so, if you go your whole life never calling 911, haven’t you been ripped off for your taxes? Better give it a shot sometime (just hide your dogs first)

      1. They’re more likely to get Dirty Harry than Don Knotts.

        1. i consider that getting a Barney Fife who thinks he’s Dirty Harry.

          Clint Eastwood didn’t go through every movie shooting at random shit that scared him because it was moving.

          1. Barney Fife did think he was Dirty Harry.

      2. Better give it a shot sometime

        I see what you did there.

      3. My sister lives in family housing on campus. Their apartment butts up against a communal park of a couple square acres where her kids play. This past year she had a number of run-ins with a childless couple living nearby who bitch incessantly about the noise of children playing. In a park. Where they chose to live. Not just reporting them to the housing administration or calling the police (which they have), but rushing outside to confront her about the intolerable noise of young children playing. In a park. Which is the point of family housing. That’s the sort of humorless authoritarian imbecile who reports “abandoned” children.

        1. That’s not a humorless authoritarian imbecile, just an imposing selfish person.

          1. you so po-TAY-toe…

  9. Nicole Jensen needs to move out of Westbrook immediately. Westbrook, Maine had 17,494 residents at the time of the 2010 census. A town that small decided it needed a police chief. When your neighbors vote for more government, you get more government.

  10. Isn’t it endangerment dropping your kinds off at school? So they are saying that no child has ever turned up missing or abused under those circumstances? Yeah, right.

    1. Shit I had to walk a mile to get to the elementry school.

      1. The following is truly a no bullshit story:
        I walked a mile to the bus stop. There were four hills so it was Uphill Both Ways. It would snow in the winter and my brother was not always around to pick me up. I had to carry my saxophone and books. I did not have to carry the little cripple kid down the street but my friend once changed his front ball joint and it slipped out at 40 miles per hour. I considered him crippled. I have filed this story for use with my children when they get older.

        1. I actually did have to walk a mile

          1. me too. Because we only had one car and Dad had to go to work. It didn’t seem all that challenging when I was in gradeschool.

  11. ONE HOUR. That’s it or your child will be kidnapped by…the gov’t. Hey, how else are they going to raise money?

    1. That is a really good question. Are rates per pupil in school any better than rates off-campus? On the one hand concentrating children in one place would seem like a prime target for predators, but on the other hand there’s a measure of protection for each individual in the herd. Meanwhile off-campus they’re dispersed but easier to pick off.

      Or maybe it’s all because the fact since anyone who argues the point is quibbling over diminishingly small odds. Still, that’s a fun point to make.

  12. Overreaction by local authorities? Yes. But, as a parent I have to ask myself what this mom was thinking … there’s no way I’d let my daughter play in a public park across the street all by herself for an hour – I mean, that’s just stupid.

    1. I wouldn’t let my kids play across the street from *your house* either, but another public park father from you would probably be OK.

    2. Who knows what could happen on the mean streets of Los Gatos.

      1. I hear they serve cat tacos there.

      2. I know – I live on the seedier edge of Los Gatos, next to Campbell. You just never know when one of these young rabble rousers will jump in front of your Mercedes!

    3. Is your post serious?

      Yes. But, as a parent I have to ask myself what this mom was thinking

      She was probably thinking that the chance of anything actually happening to her child is approximately zero, because that’s the truth.

      1. No no. I actually agree with TLG, above.

        I wouldn’t let my kids play at a public park alone either. Not becuase they are in danger, but because of CPS and busybody neighbors. I have no fear for what would happen as long as nobody calls the police. Flat out, the most dangerous thing in my neighborhood, which is filled with kids, are nosy neighbors and cops.

    4. this is a hard call. On one hand, there is the fact that what you are afraid of isn’t happening, and on the other hand ‘it might. Which is supposed to be enough to paralyze every parent across the board, but it doesn’t…you are just more scared than some.

  13. Maybe we should create cop free zones. For the children.

  14. It would be funny to see what would happen if a parent were to take these ridiculous fears seriously, and stand guard over his/her children with a rifle in hand. After all, an unarmed parent could hardly be expected to stop all of the Mad Max bandits swarming through the parks.

    No doubt all the busybody fucksticks calling the cops now would really freak out. There’s no satisfying a busybody pathetically trying to give meaning to his shitty little life.

    1. Well, did you see that pistol on the police chief’s hip ? Mom’s need the same to protect their children.

  15. That is a real problem all over this country: Far too many police “departments” in these towns that really don’t need one. If they had a brain, they’d contract with their county Sheriff for x-number of patrols and such.

    Bored cops find stuff to do. If there is no trouble, they’ll make some. Even though they usually wear a huge US flag on their “uniform”, don’t be fooled. They have no problem punking and thugging their fellow citizens over chicken-crap issues and escalating things into violence.

    1. Yeah, there waaaayyyy too many cops in this country.

      1. That’s why a high-crime area is more attractive to me than a low-crime one. Low crime gives the cops too many ideas.

    2. If they had a brain, they’d contract with their county Sheriff for x-number of patrols and such.

      That’s what my town does. All the cops do while they’re bored is set up the occasional speed trap, but they’re always in the same places so the locals know to avoid them.

      The reason these towns have their own police departments is for the enforcement of town ordinances. State troopers and sheriffs will only enforce state law. So contracting out to them deprives the petty tyrants in the town government from enacting and enforcing petty bullshit laws.

      For example at a town meeting a year or two ago some lady was demanding a noise ordinance because her neighbor’s fireworks were scaring her cat. A councilman politely told her that the only way to enforce such an ordinance would be with a town police force, and that the townspeople like their government not having the power to enforce petty bullshit. Someone suggested earmuffs for the shell-shocked kitty.

  16. Somehow I used to take comfort that small town New England was immune to this sort of foolishness. Last week a contractor at our house told me he got kicked out of coaching pee wee football because some busybody saw him yelling at his own kid. This was before a practice and the 10 year old had been caught in a lie to dad. Nope, Intimidation they said. In Gilmanton NH.

    Now this in Westbrook, Maine. I’m stunned. If Janine Roberts were a normal person she would be embarassed and humiliated that this happened on her watch. I guess these people really believe they are doing good.

    Stick a fork in America, we are done.

    1. The job of the chief of police is to defend the actions of their officers. Period. They can never admit that one of their officers made a bad decision for two reasons. Firstly the officers aren’t supposed to have to think twice about anything. They’re supposed to act on impulse, knowing that they will never see any consequences for their actions. Secondly if the chief ever admitted that one of their officers made a mistake, then the public might trust them less. What they fail to realize is that this reflexive defense of bad decisions has the opposite of the intended effect.

      1. Yup. I recall reading over 30 years ago an editorial in the Chicago Tribune that said the police union would have more credibility if they didn’t defend every cop, every time, againt every charge. Surely once in a while a cop was actually guilty?

        So it has ever been thus.

        1. One of the perks of enforcing the law is that you are not subject to the law that you enforce.

        2. I bet that was Mike Royko in the Trib.

      2. Cops would never tolerate a chief that didn’t back them 100%. The chief isn’t really in charge is he.

        1. Good point, and the same could be said of judges and prosecutors.

  17. What I find curious is,if they had asked that girl where she lived she would have said it was across the street. It’s more about PR and making the snatch.

  18. On the one hand I want to teach my kid to scream and run away if anyone, including a cop, tries to abduct her.

    On the other hand I don’t want a cop to shoot her in the back for failure to obey.

    1. Maybe teach her to yell something like “Bad Touch !” or “He’s touching my (whatever a little girl calls her private parts)”. Turn the sexual predator fear back on the cop. I dunno, just spitballing.

      1. I thought bad touch was kicking directly to it from outside your own 22 m / 25 yds.

        1. +1 “Straight out, sir!”

  19. You know what the difference between a big city and a small town is? Kids are allowed to play outside in a city.

    You know why small towns aren’t the disgusting shitholes that big cities are? Kids aren’t allowed to play outside in small towns.

    1. I think it’s quite the opposite. In my experience, kid’s AREN’T allowed to play outside in big cities.
      The worst though, are suburbs of big cities. That’s where the helicopter parents who are paranoid about stranger danger all live.

      In small towns, everyone knows everyone else.
      The kids know who is a creepy stranger and who is Mrs. Grundy who lives around the corner, and if someone calls the cops because kids are playing outside it isn’t hard to figure out who.

      1. Way to make a failed joke even worse, Hazel. Thanks a lot.

        1. The joke was worthless, the substantive point interesting.

      2. My impression has been more like Self-Identified’s than yours. I think the cities & rural areas are the least problematic in that regard, suburbs & small towns the worst.

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  21. What a bunch of assholes.

  22. These types of stories have been commonplace for years now.
    Reading the comments here, people on this site, naturally, are against this type of government intrusion; however, it seems that this type of government assertion of domain is not being taken seriously enough, even by those who condemn it.
    There simply is no greater incursion on freedom, and indeed humanity, than this domain government has given itself over human beings from birth, and this usurpation of parents’ sovereignty over their children’s safety is a part of it. A larger manifestation of it is government being able to regulate, structure and direct adults’ behavior, actions and lives for their own good or supposed good, a premise which has been enshrined into law and public policy in this nation for a long time now, and which finds expression in myriad oppressions, like the selective drug war.
    Our sovereignty over our very persons and destiny has been usurped, and ultimately, there’s practically no degree of enslavement that cannot be foisted on us, as long as government retains this authority.
    All those in power must be removed from power, inside government and outside, and everyone who has supported tyranny–like here, people who endorse this type of government incursion on parents’ authority, such as the people who are so quick to notify authorities, when they see an unattended kid, and the people in the media who cheer this shit–must be rebuked in the harshest of terms.

    1. tl;dr.

      Also, fuck off, slaver.

  23. We need to close all parks as “attractive nuisances”.

  24. Can we perhaps send the Westbrook police department on special assignment to Rowlett, TX?…..-to-police

  25. Headline: 7 Year Old Child Kidnapped from Public Park next to Child’s Home, By Police

  26. Next up: Mom arrested for feeding her children Oreo’s.

  27. For those who do not already have children, this sort of thing is a convincing argument not to.

  28. My parents are dead, (would be in the low 100 year old range now), But they should still be in jail from when my brother and I were tykes on our English ‘racers’ biking as far as we could get and still be home by 6PM. Summer was an adventure, not a helmeted walk with caution.

  29. Just above this is the header for another article: does Helicopter Parenting turn kdis into depressed college students? HER kids won’t be in danger of that… they are learning to care for themselves and each other, and to entertain themselves.

    I grew up on Southern California, and by the time I was 6 I had to walk two miles to school then back home in the afternoon. At 8, different school, the distance was four miles. By the time I was 9 I was able to ride my bike to friends’ homes several miles away… on the STREETS, mind you (oh the HORROR) wiht stoplights, stop signs, railroad tracks, unchained dogs, and a few other “dangerous” things. Decades later I’m still doing it. Wouldn’t be had I not been given the freedom, trust, and responsibilituy so young. Stupid nanny cops.

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