Man Forced Son to Carry Weights, Beat Child with Belt, and Now Faces Child Endangerment Charges
A Rock Hill, South Carolina man faces child endangerment charges for beating his son with a belt, and forcing the child to carry weights in his backpack.
Hamilton Morales is charged with unlawful conduct toward a child, a serious child endangerment charge.
Rock Hill police reported that on Wednesday, February 6th, Morales’s mother called the police department, claiming her son was abusing her grandson. Police arrived shortly after the 5 PM call, and found the 10 year old boy with scrapes on his shoulders and red marks on his legs. The child said his father, Morales, hit him on the legs with a belt, then put weights in his book bag and made him walk around the back yard.
The police report states that Morales was punishing the child for an incident at school.
Child Endangerment Defined in South Carolina
The South Carolina Legislature’s website offers details about laws surrounding child endangerment. Article 1 of Chapter 5 – Legal Status of Children – defines the parent-child relationship and what is unlawful. Unlawful Conduct Toward a Child, the specific child endangerment charge that Morales faces, is defined as:
(A) It is unlawful for a person who has charge or custody of a child, or who is the parent or guardian of a child, or who is responsible for the welfare of a child as defined in Section 63-7-20 to:
(1) place the child at unreasonable risk of harm affecting the child’s life, physical or mental health, or safety;
(2) do or cause to be done unlawfully or maliciously any bodily harm to the child so that the life or health of the child is endangered or likely to be endangered; or
(3) wilfully abandon the child.
(B) A person who violates subsection (A) is guilty of a felony and for each offense, upon conviction, must be fined in the discretion of the court or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Child Endangerment Charges
Child endangerment occurs when an adult, whether a parent or caregiver, places a child in a dangerous situation that is inappropriate or could cause them harm. Child endangerment, though serious, is not exactly the same thing as child abuse, as the charge doesn’t involve directly causing harm, but still carries stiff penalties and possible prison time.
Being accused of child endangerment can have lasting effects on your professional and personal life, even if you are found innocent. These charges can ruin your professional reputation, or prevent you from gaining specific custody rights over your own children. Because of this, it’s important that you hire an attorney that can defend your rights.
Child endangerment includes both placing a child in physical danger and exposing a child to dangerous or illegal adult situations. These situations include:
- Caregivers driving under the influence
- Exposing children to illegal drug use
- Exposing children to firearms
- Failing to use proper safety restraints
- Domestic Violence
It is common for a parent or a caregiver to have no intention of committing this crime. Carelessness, negligence or recklessness may lead to a child endangerment charge.
Persons who have been charged with child endangerment should seek the advice of a defense attorney immediately. A criminal attorney who handles these cases will know what options are available and what the best line of defense will be under the circumstances. If you face child endangerment charges, it is important to understand your rights. Call the Strom Law Firm today for a free consultation to see how we can help you.