Mother of NY child left in manger will not be prosecuted
RICHMOND HILL, New York, December 1, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The mother who left her newborn son in the Nativity scene of a New York Catholic Church will not face charges under the state's safe haven law.
After investigation, including discussions with the mother, who followed up the next day to be sure her child was safe, the Queens district attorney announced she would not be prosecuted under the law, which permits a parent to leave a newborn child in a safe location.
"It appears that the mother, in this case, felt her newborn child would be found safely in the church and chose to place the baby in the manger because it was the warmest place in the church, and further she returned the following morning to make certain that the baby had been found," Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement.
After a full review of the facts and circumstances surrounding the discovery, Brown said, his office had determined "that no criminal prosecution of the child's mother is warranted."
"The church is considered a safe haven for drop-offs," the church's parochial vicar Father Christopher Heanue said. "The baby was brand new. He still had the umbilical cord attached. It's a beautiful baby boy."
The child was found in the crib of Holy Child Jesus Church in the Richmond Hill area of Queens by the church's custodian last Monday, his umbilical cord still attached.
After being taken to a local hospital and determined to be healthy, the newborn was put in custody of authorities.
With the newborn being found less than a week before the beginning of Advent, the incident is sparking comparisons to the message of Christmas, along with offers to adopt the child.
Father Heanue said finding the baby a home within the Holy Child Jesus community would be a wonderful Christmas season ending to the story.
"The beautiful thing is that this woman found in this church – which is supposed to be a home for those in need – this home for her child," he stated in a report from Irish Central. "A young couple in our parish would love to adopt this child and keep this gift in our community. It would make a great Christmas miracle."
Diocese of Brooklyn spokeswoman Rocio Fidalgo confirmed that it is not unusual for people in crisis to leave children at diocesan churches, stating, "It's not uncommon, but we feel and we believe that these mothers trust our churches in the middle of their desperation."
Brooklyn Auxiliary Bishop and Holy Child Jesus Pastor Octavio Cisneros echoed Father Heanue's words, calling the baby boy "a miracle child, because he has touched the lives of all of us here in the parish."
Holy Child Jesus parishioners have suggested names for the baby, in addition to some having offered to adopt him.
"We have a number of people within the community that would love to see him stay with us," Father Heanue said. "He's a member in our hearts. There's really a connection that people have felt over the past few days."
One idea for a name was John, for John the Baptist, Father Heanue told Newsday, because "[h]e came before Jesus, announcing the coming of the savior."
"In sort of a similar way this child comes just four weeks before Jesus' arrival," Father Heanue continued.
The other name suggestion was Emanuel, because it means "God is with us," he said. "What a beautiful message it was, it is, for people, for life, and for finding hope in the midst of trial."