A mother from Utah has been charged after she allegedly abandoned her eight-year-old son at a hospital with a note saying he’s too “rude.”
Kathy Sherrer, 36, has been charged with child abandonment and child abuse after her unnamed son walked into Jordan Valley Medical Center on Feb. 21 with a note that read “This kid is rude and ungovernable! I do not want him in my house at all!”
“I thought it was ok that we could drop him off, that [the hospital] was a Safe Haven place,” Sherrer told KSL. “They said they weren’t going to charge me with anything. They knew I was overwhelmed because I have four special need kids.”
However, Heather Barnum of Utah’s department of human services says the Safe Haven law is meant for newborns.
According to the Utah Safe Haven website, the birth parent(s) of a child can drop off their newborn at any Utah hospital without being investigated, criminally prosecuted or named. But the child must be one to three days old.
Barnum also said there are “additional services” for parents like Sherrer who are experiencing challenges with their child, including The Family Support Center.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sam Gill said the alleged actions of Sherrer, even if she felt overwhelmed, were not the right choices.
“You don’t get to arbitrarily drop children off at certain institutions. You reach out to that organization, that organization helps process your child, there’s an understanding,” told Gill to KSL. “You don’t simply say, ‘I’ve had enough and I’m going to drop off this child and no one knows who I am.'”
Gill also went on to say the actions of just “arbitrarily” dropping off your child could cause emotional damage to that child.
“The concern is, when we have children being treated that way, what damage does it do to that child, both in terms of the physical abuse and emotional abuse?”
But to Sherrer, she said she believed she was doing the right thing.
“I told them he was out of control, that he needed more help than I could provide for him.”
Sherrer is expected to make a court appearance on March 10.