A mother in my city of Fort Wayne, Indiana has plead guilty to four counts of criminal neglect. This woman, Breezy Parker, stood by and did nothing to stop her boyfriend from abusing her four young children. Now, in a ruling that I find both unimaginable and nauseating, Parker has been sentenced to zero jail time and will have the opportunity to regain custody of the children that she failed to protect. This case has been all over my local news, and I know that I’m not the only one in my city who was utterly shocked to see such a lax sentence for a mother who let awful things happen to her children.
Parker’s boyfriend, Antonio Henderson, punched, whipped, and choked the four children left in his care. He was looking after a 1-year-old girl and three boys, ages 4, 5, and 8. He also threatened to put the children in a cage with a six-foot boa constrictor. All of this happened and Breezy Parker just stood by, ignoring the bruises and injuries her children accumulated. One of the older boys testified during the sentencing that his mother knew about the child abuse.
The police got involved in this case after Parker’s kids ended up in the hospital while in Henderson’s care. Apparently, he had instructed the boys to have a “blanket party” with their younger sister. For those without military experience, a “blanket party” is when an under-performing recruit is covered with a blanket and beaten by his peers. The 1 year old ended up with a skull fracture necessitating a visit to the emergency room.
Even more sickening, when Breezy Parker was informed of the injuries to her young daughter, as well as the bruises found on her other children, by police at the hospital, she refused to leave work to come speak with detectives or check on her children.
I realize that the state and Child Protective Services are constantly trying to keep families together. I appreciate that they are trying to help parents keep their kids. But I think that there needs to be instances where we say that a person has failed, that they don’t get any additional chances. Breezy Parker was told that her boyfriend had to leave the home in August of 2011 after abuse allegations were confirmed. Instead, she continued to let him care for her children while she was at work. She continued to put them in harm’s way.
It is often hard to imagine that mothers aren’t nurturing and loving. We just assume every woman has a maternal soul buried deep down inside of her that wants to take care of her children. But Breezy Parker has proven that she doesn’t have that. She was incapable of putting her children first and protecting them from a known threat. At this point, she does not deserve the opportunity to try again.
The attorneys prosecuting this case asked that this mother be sentenced to 10 years in prison. The judge sentencing Breezy Parker decided to go against the prosecutors wishes and said, “The knee-jerk reaction would be to acquiesce to the state and put her in prison for 10 years, but if I did that I don’t think any real interest would be served other than we might momentarily feel better.” He’s wrong. The real interest that would have been served is that of the four children who suffered at the hands of Parker’s boyfriend. By the way, the boyfriend she’s still writing letters to as he awaits his own sentencing.
At some point, we should be able to acknowledge that mothers and fathers do not deserve another chance. They’ve hurt their children too much. Breezy Parker is past that point. Now, it’s the justice system that is failing to protect those four kids.