Shanesha Taylor, the Arizona mother who left two of her children in the car as she went on a job interview, accepted a plea deal that will allow her case to be dismissed after she meets requirements from the court, her attorney announced Friday.
Taylor garnered a lot of public support when it was discovered the unemployed mother left two of her children in the car because she couldn’t afford a baby sitter.
She had a third child who was in school at the time of the incident.
The children in the car were 2 years old and 6 months old.
There were several debates on social media and inside the courtroom about whether Taylor’s circumstances were enough to excuse the fact that Taylor left her kids in the car on a hot day in March.
Officers found the children in Taylor’s SUV sweating profusely, but no serious injuries were reported.
According to Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, he has found a solution that will keep Taylor out of jail while still holding her accountable for her actions.
Her case will be dismissed as soon as she completes parenting and substance-abuse classes and establishes education and child care trust funds for each of her three children.
“Based on all the facts and circumstances in this matter, we believe this agreement represents a just resolution that appropriately holds the defendant accountable for her actions while also recognizing the best interest of her family,” Montgomery said in a public statement. “The stipulations of this agreement also ensure that pledges of support from members of the public will have a meaningful and positive impact.”
So far, the online community has raised more than $114,000 to help Taylor with her legal fees and other expenses.
She will be required to put at least $30,000 in the trust for her children.
While the classes are a time-consuming process, many people felt like this was a pretty gracious punishment for a woman who was facing two felony charges of child abuse.
Even Taylor said she was extremely grateful for the plea deal.
“This is a beautiful resolution to a very long, very hard journey,” Taylor told reporters Friday.
Other comments have surfaced online, however, suggesting that the plea deal isn’t quite as gracious as people may think.
There are concerns that forcing Taylor to take classes will only force her to spend more money on child care in addition to trying to find a job.
“So in addition to finding a job, which got her arrested b/c she couldn’t get childcare while she interviewed, she now has to make time for classes & find more childcare to put her kids in while she’s there,” one comment on ClutchMagOnline read. “… So what happens when those donations run out, especially with that extra childcare she’ll need while she’s wasting time in parenting & drug classes? How long will she be watched to make sure those trusts are funded?”
Taylor’s children are currently still in family members’ custody under the supervision of the Division of Child and Family Services.