Coach Charged With Leaving 4-Year-Old Home Alone While He Went to Gym

Leaving a 4-year-old home alone sounds like the kind of thing only an egregiously irresponsible parent would do, right? Or is it? Charles D. Clemons, Jr. is an upstanding citizen, the head basketball coach for a high school in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and a fifth-grade teacher. His father is a state representative. Yet Clemons, who is married and has three children, is charged with risk of injury to a minor after leaving his 4-year-old son home alone so he could reportedly get in a workout at a gym.


The boy was reportedly found wandering the streets in his pajamas, one sock on, the other barefoot, and saying his house was on fire since an alarm was going off.

A neighbor called the boy's father when police arrived to check out the fire -- there turned out not to be one -- and Clemons arrived a short time later, apparently then admitting he had left the boy alone to go to the gym.

Clemons' lawyer says:

Like all of us, he is not a perfect human being and appears to have made an isolated mistake. Clearly, this is an aberration and he should not be crucified for this human error.

No one should be crucified for an error, and hopefully this was an aberration. But what if the house HAD been on fire? What if the little boy, wandering the streets alone, had stumbled into a ditch or a lake? Or into the wrong hands? There are very good reasons you don't leave a child home alone this young.

Also, I have to wonder what will happen to this dad. He faces 10 years in prison -- surely much too harsh for a crime of this magnitude. However, will he suffer the same punishment that, say, a single teen mother who was out drinking with her boyfriend would?

Something tells me Clemons will not be punished nor judged as harshly as a struggling young mom would be.

The boy has been temporarily turned over to a relative.

Do you think he should go to jail? What would you say about a young mother who was off doing something not as "wholesome" as going to the gym?


Image via Tex Texin/Flickr

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