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Published: Tuesday, 7/1/2003

Probation ordered in baby death

A teenager who delivered a baby in her North Toledo home and then left the residence without calling for help when he died thanked a Lucas County Juvenile Court magistrate who ordered her placed on probation during a hearing yesterday.

Monique Caulton, 16, of 3302 Cherry St. simply said “thank you” to Magistrate Laura Restivo, who put the girl and her mother on probation.

“We can't help Monique if we don't have you with us,” the magistrate told the teen's mother. “There's been 18 years of substance abuse. Ninety-plus days [of sobriety] is a beginning. We're here to help the family unit.”

The teen and her mother could face contempt-of-court charges if they violate probation terms. The teen then could be sent to an Ohio Department of Youth Services facility for at least a year and possibly until she is 21.

The teen was charged with delinquency in connection with involuntary manslaughter after she delivered her premature son, laid him on her bed, and left home without calling for help March 24.

During a hearing last month, she told the magistrate she never called for medical help because she was “scared” when she delivered her son in the bathroom of her home. She cut the umbilical cord and later left. The baby was born 12 weeks early, but the Lucas County Coroner's Office said the child would have lived had it received medical attention.

Magistrate Restivo agreed with probation recommendations from a psychiatrist with Connecting Point and the court's probation department.

The teen will undergo treatment for drug and alcohol abuse at Connecting Point and be seen weekly by the psychiatrist. There will be monthly meetings to assess her progress, and she will be working with the House of Emmanuel, which aids troubled youth.

Her mother, who did not face criminal charges, was ordered to undergo random urine screens. The probation department also will be in contact with her treatment providers.

Prosecutors took no position on the recommendations. Dan Weiss, the teen's court-appointed public defender, was pleased with the outcome.

“It's ideal to have her out and getting the things she needs,” he said. “That's not to lessen the tragedy of the matter if we can save the kids and keep on going.”

Mr. Weiss and Magistrate Restivo said they've noticed changes in the teen and her mother during the last several months. Mr. Weiss said their relationship has improved, as has the teen's demeanor and attitude. She's also done well in detention, the magistrate said.

The teen has been at the Lucas County Juvenile Detention Center since June 3. She is expected to be released to her mother today.



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