Utah Mom Says Safe Haven Law Confusion Caused Felony Charge

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WEST JORDAN, Utah (ABC 4 UTAH) – A Utah mom faces a misdemeanor and a felony, but she says it’s a misunderstanding.  36-year-old Kathy Sherrer dropped off her son at a local hospital because she said he was too unruly.
 
Kathy Sherrer has four kids.  You can see some of them here on her Facebook account, but on February 21st, she says she reached her breaking point with her 8-year-old son Robert who she says has developmental issues.
 
“He was way out of control, he was pulling his pants down in public, cussing me out and calling me names,” said mother of four Kathy Sherrer.
 
So she made a decision.
 
“So on February 21st I took him to the hospital thinking it was the safe haven law and I was trying to get help for him,” said Sherrer.
 
But the Safe Haven Law in Utah is only for newborns.  That’s why Kathy now faces one count of child abandonment and one count of child abuse.
 
“This is a baby that has not turned over in their baby crib. They’re not talking, they’re not walking, we’re talking about a newborn,” said Julia Robertson with the Utah Newborn Safe Haven Project.
 
Julia Robertson with the Utah Newborn Safe Haven Project says you can’t drop off an unruly infant, toddler, child, or teenager at a local hospital without penalty like you can with a newborn.
 
“We are lucky to have some emergency day cares. They are throughout the state, they are not in every community,” said Robertson.
 
You can find emergency day cares on the Utah Newborn Safe Haven website that will give parents a break without taking their kids away.
 
“They are not going to ask lots of questions. They know sometimes parents need a break. There can be problems, so this is a really good respite for parents and so it should be used,” said Sherrer.
 
It’s something Kathy says she didn’t know.
 
“The only thing I was trying to do is get him help and that was it,” said Sherrer.
 
While everything gets sorted out, her eight year old son remains in foster care.
 
Sherrer has another court date Thursday.  She says she never abused her son, but he may have bruises because he picks at his skin. 

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