10 yrs for mom whose son drowned while she Facebooked

In a path breaking judgment related to child abuse, an American mother who left her 13-month-old son in a bathtub to play games on facebook while not caring as he drowned now faces 10 years in prison. She’s playing Café World on Facebook, sharing videos and checking on her friends’ status updates.

Shannon Johnson. Photo: Greeley Tribune

While sentencing the northern Colorado woman, the Weld District Court judge believed the mother might not have done it purposely or that she’s a bad person, but that didn’t mean her acts weren’t criminal. Shannon Johnson, 34, cried as she listened to the judge sentence her.

“You left this little boy in a bathtub so you could entertain yourself on the computer by playing games,” the judge said. “And you left that 13-month-old human being, little Joseph, incredibly for those reasons.” Johnson pleaded guilty last month to child abuse, negligently causing Joseph’s death.

According to court documents, Johnson was playing games on Facebook in September 2010 when her son drowned in the bathtub. The full report appeared in Greeley Tribune from where I gather that the court did not trust this careless mother’s wisdom that her son had grown independent and wanted to be left alone in the tub.

One comment

  1. I don’t think there’s any question of her doing this deliberately. But her little boy is still dead and it could have been avoided. You never leave your child unattended in water, never. A few minutes of inattention and an inch of water is all it takes.

    And I’m not going to fall into the trap of blaming the game for what happened, or blaming Facebook. There have always been distractions in life. It could just as easily have been a book that was commanding her attention, or a TV program. It could have been a phone call. It just happened to be a game on Facebook. You don’t see child protection campaigning against videos games any more than you see them campaigning against books or television programs. And that’s because it would solve nothing. It comes down to where the parents’ priorities are. Sadly, Shannon Johnson got her priorities horribly wrong.


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