A mother who left her newborn baby in a Nativity scene at a Queens church will not be charged criminally, prosecutors said.
Investigators located and interviewed the baby’s mother and determined no criminal prosecution was warranted, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement late Wednesday night.
“The mother followed the spirit of New York's 'Safe Haven' Law which allows a parent to leave a child not older than 30 days with an appropriate person or in a suitable location,” Brown said.
The mother left her infant son in the crèche of the Holy Jesus Church because it was the warmest nook to tuck him in, the DA said.
“The mother ... felt her newborn child would be found safely in the church ... and she returned the following morning to make certain that the baby had been found,” Brown said.
Her baby will spend his first Thanksgiving in the custody of Children’s Services.
The mother was caught on videotape Monday with the newborn buying towels she used to wrap him, and heading toward the Holy Child Jesus Church in Richmond Hill, where she left him.Paul Cerni/AP The church has received offers from all over the country to adopt the baby, nicknamed "Baby Jesus." Enlarge The baby's mom was spotted of surveillance video buying towels in a nearby dollar store before abandoning the baby at the church. Enlarge
Police spied her in grainy footage from the 99 Cents & Up Market on Jamaica Ave., about a block away from the church.
The highly publicized discovery of the boy dubbed “Baby Jesus” prompted calls to the church from across the country offering to adopt the child found wrapped in purple towels and placed in the Nativity’s crèche.
“It’s out of our control,” said parish secretary Andrea Carrasco, who directed the callers to the Administration for Children’s Services, which is caring for the baby.
“It’s nice to know that there are so many people willing to adopt the child,” she continued. “It’s really nice that they would just take a child like that.”
Some of the locals were just as interested in giving the abandoned boy a new home ? although Maria Cirrincione, 50, conceded she is too old for motherhood.
“The concept is beautiful ? the whole Christmas coming, and the baby in the manger,” the Queens woman said of the newborn taking over for the ceramic Jesus.Sam Costanza/for New York Daily News The newborn boy was found by a maintenance worker of the Holy Child Jesus Church.
“We don’t know what (the mother) is going through. It’s just an odd story.”
Leaving a newborn without alerting anyone is a crime under the ‘Safe Haven’ law. But authorities also worry about discouraging other moms from leaving their babies at designated safe havens ? churches, hospitals, police stations and firehouses.
“The mother did the right thing by leaving (the baby) at the church if she didn’t want him,” said parishioner Brenda Terin, 36, of Richmond Hill. “I’m glad he’s safe. I hope he finds a really good family, someone who can really take care of the baby.”
Queens prosecutors did file reckless endangerment charges in May 2008 against a 31-year-old woman for abandoning her infant ? but under significantly different circumstances.
In that case, the baby was left on a doorstep to a private residence ? not a safe haven location. The woman pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years’ probation.