GIRARD, Ohio (WKBN) – The mother charged after leaving her children alone in a Liberty, Ohio motel room while she was at work was found not guilty of child endangering charges.
Shaina Bell pleaded no contest to two disorderly conduct charges and was found not guilty after a pretrial hearing in Girard Municipal Court Wednesday morning.
Bell was arrested at Little Caesars, where she worked, after officers reported finding her children — ages 9, 7 and 3 — alone at Motel 6, where they had been living. The charges came after the children’s father called police.
Bell said she felt that her daughter was old enough to be alone with the other children and that she worked right down the street.
Video below is from WKBN’s interview with Shaina Bell in February.
Her story gained a lot of attention from across the country, with people donating over $100,000 to an online fundraiser for her family. While some supported her, others attacked her decision online.
She told WKBN in February that she was going to use the GoFundMe money to buy a house and provide for her children.
Judge Jeffrey Adler spoke Wednesday in court, saying the case should have been handled by Children Services.
“When the matter arose, I was personally offended that this young woman was arrested and taken to jail instead of just being served with a summons. That should never have happened. People with more serious offenses are not being taken to jail at this time,” said Judge Jeffrey Adler. “Based on everything I know about the case, it could have been handled a lot differently. I think Miss Bell learned a lesson here.”
He said it was a lesson that shouldn’t have been learned in the jail but by Children Services.