Mom Leaves Pot Brownie On Sink, Spends Christmas Without Kid
Dec. 23, 2015 (Mimesis Law) — Small children have a tendency to eat things they’re not supposed to touch. Sometimes ingestion of that particular item or substance can have adverse consequences. In the case of Vanessa Rodriguez, her daughter’s ingestion of less than a bite of one marijuana brownie means child endangerment charges and a holiday without her daughter.
Vanessa Rodriguez, 28, admitted to cops that she left the marijuana-laced brownie on a counter in her Heberton Ave. home in Port Richmond on Tuesday, intending to toss it in the trash, according to court papers.
The next thing she knew, she saw that her kid “looked a bit loopy,” and took her into the shower, the papers said.
The girl still looked “a bit out of it,” Rodriguez told police. “At this point I saw the brownie in the sink. There was less than a bite missing.”
Vanessa then took her daughter to the hospital, ostensibly out of concern and a desire to see any potential issues treated. Once the treating physicians performed a urine test on Vanessa’s daughter and found THC in her system, phone calls were made to the police and the City’s Administration for Children’s Services. Merry Christmas, Vanessa. Your gift is a holiday without your daughter and fighting misdemeanor charges in court.
Police arrested Rodriguez on Wednesday. She’s charged with endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor, said a spokesman for acting Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Master.
It’s not like the hospital staff had any say in the matter. The New York State Office of Children and Family Services says that certain groups of people are mandated to “report suspected cases of child abuse and maltreatment.” One of those groups happens to be medical and hospital personnel, so one would think the treating physicians and nurses were simply doing their job.
The kicker in the above quote from the Office of Children and Family Services’ website is that bolded word, “suspected.” The treating physician and nursing staff who handled the care of Vanessa Rodriguez’s daughter could have taken the time to question Rodriguez, use the brains that earned them the ability to practice some form of medicine, and determine whether this was actually a case of child abuse and maltreatment. The cynic in me says once the urinalysis revealed THC in the child’s system, judgment was thrown out the window and phone calls got made.
It’s way too easy to predict Vanessa Rodriguez’s fate. New York State has a “Central Register” of people “substantiated” of child abuse and neglect, just like Tennessee and Michigan . Vanessa’s was probably “substantiated,” so there goes her ability to find employment with children, work in areas with children, or adopt another child, should she choose to do so.
Rodriguez will have to work through her misdemeanor charges, paying for legal fees and any court costs that stem from the proceedings. She will have to navigate the byzantine rules of New York State’s Office of Children and Family Services, and abide by their every whim in order to see her two year old daughter again. When New York State attempts to justify the separation of the Rodriguez family, she will more than likely have charges fall under the category of “Child Maltreatment,” which the Office of Children and Family Services says includes “lack of supervision.”
I’m still scratching my head over where the “lack of supervision” comes from this case. Rodriguez saw her daughter was “acting loopy,” and took the child to the hospital when it became clear at-home treatment would not suffice. Because the work of well-intentioned social workers willing to do anything “for the good of children” is a tale as old as time, I suspect the court documents will point to the existence of a marijuana brownie in the home and that Rodriguez left her two-year-old daughter in or near the presence of it long enough of her to take a bite as justification for “lack of supervision.” Shamira Gonzalez, one of Vanessa’s friends, seems to think the entire case is unfounded and that Rodriguez did the right thing by her daughter.
Rodriguez’s longtime friend, Shamira Gonzalez, defended her as a loving mother of five, and called the case a misunderstanding.
Gonzalez, 27, offered a different version of what happened.
“Somebody gave it to her at a Christmas party. At that point, she didn’t know what it was.”
The brownie tasted bad, so Rodriguez tossed it into the trash, and the girl fished it out, according to Gonzalez.
“She didn’t know any better. She just saw chocolate … She must have tasted it and spit it out. The piece that was there only had a little bite.”
Gonzalez said Rodriguez was a responsible parent.
“She took her to the hospital, like any good mother. She thought it tasted bad. She didn’t think it had marijuana,” Gonzalez said.
Unfortunately for Gonzalez, the State of New York has determined her assessment of Vanessa Rodriguez’s parenting skills was wrong. She is a Bad Parent because the Office of Children and Family Services said so, and now Rodriguez and her two year old daughter will spend the holidays apart. The next time Rodriguez sees her daughter, it could again be in a hospital. This time with a feeding tube inserted and a friendly social worker asking if Vanessa Rodriguez has life insurance on her daughter. It’s not like it hasn’t happened before.
My Fault Lines colleague, Ken Womble, mused when alerting me of this story “Tis the season for giving (children life long trauma).” Truer words were never spoken.