Westport Police Explain Why Mom Was Charged

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Westport resident Tinatin Crouch was charged Saturday with risk of injury to a child.
Westport resident Tinatin Crouch was charged Saturday with risk of injury to a child. Photo Credit: Contributed: Westport Police Department

WESTPORT, Conn. – The arrest of a Westport mom who was charged with risk of injury to a child after her 2-year-old daughter was found walking in the street has sparked controversy around town. 

Police said 43-year-old Tinatin Crouch left her 2-year-old and 15-year-old home Saturday to go shopping. The 2-year-old was sleeping when Crouch left but apparently woke up and wandered out of the home wearing slippers, pajama pants and a long-sleeve shirt while the older sibling was asleep, police have said.

The child was spotted walking in the street by a neighbor, who called police and took the child in until police arrived. The neighbor did not know where the child lived, police Capt. Sam Arciola said.

The case has many wondering why Crouch was charged, because the 2-year-old had been left at home with a 15-year-old sibling.

“I do not see any error nor any crime," one reader of The Westport Daily Voice commented.

Crouch was charged because her 15-year-old son was also sleeping when she left to go to the store, police said.

“The 15-year-old son was sick, so she [Crouch] told him to go to sleep and that their father would be home before the baby woke up,” Arciola said, citing the police report.

“The mom left knowing the 15-year-old was asleep and sick,” Arciola said. “If there was a person responsible for that child’s welfare, it was her, not the son.”

According to the police report, the son went to sleep at about 3 p.m., and Crouch left to go grocery shopping at about 3:45 p.m. At about 4:30 p.m., police were called to Murvon Court on a report that a child was wandering in the street.

The neighbor who spotted the child said the girl was screaming and crying for her mother as she walked in the road, the police report said.

“When our officers are making a decision, in any case, they evaluate the totality of the situation,” Arciola said. "This is an unfortunate incident and we all wish this didn’t happen, but the important thing is that the child was not harmed.”

Crouch could not be reached for comment Wednesday. 

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Comments (9)

This is flu season and maybe all were or have been sick. Maybe she was out of diapers or foods for the son who was sick or no food for dinner etc.. Mom has a 24-7 job-no break even when she is sick! Sick kids make demands-so do husbands-so do babies. Finding time to do it all and then some is no easy task. Normal sleep isn't always possible. 24-7 good judgments don't always happen as a result. Did she know at that point that the toddler even knew how to open the door? Probably not. She probably thought the toddler would act as they had in the past-sleep a normal amount of time, not be able to get out of the house and go find the brother on waking up.She also thought Dad would be back at the predicted time. The toddler didnt act as they had in the past. Mom will never forget and make the same mistake again even if she was not arrested-trust me. That is something hard wired into moms brains. Making her a FELON- A FELON!!!?? Why not brand her a witch! You have acted only to humiliate. Watch how this ends- you branded her-her husband will probably divorce her now-how good is that for the family!? Maybe citizens should get cameras and follow the wives of police around-you husbands will be surprised to find that you harbor a felon in your own home.

Wow, what an overreaction - arresting her?! This country is crazy these days. One time I parked my car at the post office door with my young son in a car seat, ran into the front lobby (Glenville PO, 20 feet away), put the mail in the slot and ran back out to find a swaggering police officer who proceeded to give me a hard time and tell me he could arrest me. Don't you guys have more important things to do than harass busy moms? Talking to this woman would have been enough - arresting her and now publically humiliating her, this is way over the line. Although not too surprising as so many of you voted for the nanny state, government control of this admin. - enjoy your lack of freedom.

Of course the Police are "explaining" their actions. But it still is a one sided conversation don't you think? And we all know that in these situations where individuals or entire (police) departments undergo scrutiny because of questionable actions that the whole truth is being told... hmmm. Unless you were there and know first hand what transpired you really don't know the circumstances involved. As most mothers will agree we know the normal behaviors of our children and at two years old schedules are in place and this could of been a typical everyday scenario with the child's nap time. I haven't heard anything about groceries just that she had to go to the store. How is it you know that it was unimportant? A prescription? A necessary ingredient for dinner? Tampons? Pain relief? 2000 flushes for a stopped up toilet? Who cares? It was a poor judgment call or in your words "absent minded" but it turned out fine. It just doesn't warrant an arrest and public humiliation. You stated "quote" "Let this serve as a reminder to parents: Do not leave your young children home alone with someone who is sick and sleeping." Well, I hate to tell you this but this scenario could happen to any of us. Do you sleep? Yes. Does your child ever wake up before you do? Yes. Is it possible that he or she may have time to open the door and exit your home with you unaware? Yes (unless of course you have all of the necessary childproof gadgets which by the way is not a bad idea for you parents who have toddlers). So in order to prevent your young child from harms way in the event he wanders out of your home, don't leave him with anyone who is sick or sleeping. And while your at it, do not do anything else in an unforeseen fashion that my or may not get you in a predicament. Always think with precision and accuracy at all times every minute of the day. And for the love of cheese, if you must sleep make sure there is an alert awake adult standing guard at your front door at all times in the event your baby wakes up before you do and journeys outside in your slippers.

Nope, the explanation is not going to fly. Their still should not of been an arrest or charges filed. Even Capt. Sam Arciola said "This is an unfortunate incident".
The only crimes committed was that of the Westport police when they arrested this woman, the unneighborliness neighbors and the newspapers/media for making this poor mother out to be unfit all for the sake of ratings. I wonder how many of these stone throwers have done the very same thing at one time or another? Shame on you!!

I think everyone who's getting upset over this is being too emotional. I don't know Mrs. Crouch, but I'm sure she's a lovely woman. However, emotions aside, what she did was dumb. Why would you leave your child home with someone who is sleeping? You might as well leave the child home alone.

I would never have left my 2-year-old home with an older sibling after telling him or her go to sleep. As parents, we are supposed to know better.

Why didn't she wait to go grocery shopping until the husband came home, or wait until the 2-year-old woke up from her nap? Grocery shopping is not that important that it warrants leaving the child home with someone who you KNOW isn't going to be watching the child.

Every parent knows that with young children like this, it only takes a minute for something to go wrong. And in this case, it did.

It might seem harsh, but she was charged with risk of injury to a child because of what happened. The girl managed to get out of the house and was put in a risky situation. I mean, the girl could have been hit by a car or fallen on ice and hurt herself, right? ABSOLUTELY. Thankfully, that did not happen, but again, it could have, which is why Mrs. Crouch got charged.

And you say shame on the neighbors? I think they were in the right by calling the police because a 2-year-old walking in the street alone is not normal and is an indicator that something is wrong.

This whole thing is on par with parents who leave their young children alone in the car while they make a "quick stop" into a store.

Let's not blame the police for doing their job. Let's not blame the neighbors or the media. The only person at fault here is the mom. What she did was wrong and absent minded. Let this serve as a reminder to parents: Do not leave your young children home alone with someone who is sick and sleeping.

And I'm sure Mrs. Crouch feels horrible about this, but I bet she won't do that again.

Well Big Thinker, you obviously don't get that name from any real action.
What the Police and the neighbors did was just plain stupid. The mother needed to go out to get whatever- maybe a presription for her sick child? Obviously if it was something that could wait she would have. To charge a mother over what MIGHT have happened in ludicrous. I might run over 6 people tomorrow, I might drive 120 MPH the wrong way down a one way street, I might do just about anything. I haven't didn't and most probably won't. So should I be charged for what MIGHT happen? C'mon, grow up. Comfort the child, bring her home, the mother feels terrible, it's a mistake......case closed, end of story. Arrest? Total BS.
She didn't put the child in that situation, the child did. Send her to a foster home - what.....too harsh?

@ lastcardjb: SERIOUSLY??? The child did??? The child is 2 freaking years old. The child knows better than to put itself in harms way?????? The mother is WRONG!!! The MOTHER is responsible for the CHILD's welfare. The neighbor was right in contacting police. What if someone had the mother tied up in the house and the child got away? What? the neighbor should then put her own self in harms way just to bring the child back to a potential harmful or better yet, deadly situation???

The mother is WRONG!! I feel bad for her also... she had something to do.. I get that. We have all been there... but the police nor the neighbor are in the wrong. The MOTHER is!!!!!!

And NOTHING.. no matter what the situation... NOTHING is so important to leave like that. Nothing couldn't have waited until the child awoke or the father returned home. PERIOD!!!!!

Lastcard, if you are driving 120 mph, the police will stop you because you might get into an accident and you might kill someone.

Again, she was charged because of what did happen: the child got out of the house while mom wasn't home, was walking in the street and as a result, the child was put at risk of becoming injured...Maybe that's why it's called risk of injury to a child. But that's just me.

And for those of you who don't read carefully, the 15-year-old brother didn't fall asleep after he was tasked to watch the 2-year-old. Apparently, mom told the 15-year-old to go to sleep because he wasn't feeling well. If this is true, then she knowingly left the house, with both...I'll say it again...both kids asleep. This means the 2-year-old was not being supervised.

I have three children (one set of twin boys) and if something came up during nap time and I absolutely needed to leave the house, guess what? I brought the twins with me. And if they woke up and were crying and cranky, I had to deal with it. So in my mind, that excuse doesn't fly.

So this is the question I have for you: Would you leave your sleeping 2-year-old home with a sick/sleeping 15-year-old who you know isn't going to be watching the 2-year-old?

Everyone saying the police overreacted. No one thinks the police overreact when they catch the person or persons responsible for the burglaries in your neighborhood. No one says they overreact when they show up at your house or on your street after you reported seeing someone "suspicious."

For everyone saying "nothing happened..." should police just let drunk drivers go after pulling them over if they didn't get into an accident? ''Well, you didn't hurt anyone. No harm no foul. You're free to go." ?