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Should We Be Surprised?
No jail for mother who left newborn in Logan toilet

A Maine woman who gave birth in a bathroom stall at Logan Airport, then left her newborn son in a toilet covered with tissue to board a flight to London to see her boyfriend, did not go to jail for the crime.

Kelly Angell admitted in East Boston District Court in September 2000 that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict her of two crimes: abandoning a child under the age of 10 and recklessly permitting that child to be harmed.

As a result, Judge Dominic J.F. Russo sentenced Angell, 20, to serve seventeen months in jail but suspended the punishment for two years if Angell stays out of trouble. Russo also ordered her to continue psychological counseling.

Branding Angell with responsibility for a "tragic situation," Suffolk prosecutor David Deakin had requested she serve eighteen months behind bars.

According to televised reports from the courtroom, defense lawyer Anthony J. Lociatto told the judge that Angell "needs the support of her family. She needs the support of her therapist to be able to continue with the productive life she has always led."

The baby has been with a foster family in Massachusetts since shortly after his birth, State Department of Social Services spokeswoman Carol Yelverton said. "He is thriving. We are taking very good care of him."

The incident happened May 26 as Angell waited for a London-bound flight to tell her boyfriend, Graeme Clifton, about her pregnancy, authorities said; Angell apparently had kept it a secret. At the airport, prosecutors said, Angell went into labor, headed to the women's bathroom, delivered the child, then put it in the toilet.

"The defendant explained that after trying to get the baby to breathe by patting its back and cleaning its mouth, she then cut the umbilical cord with her fingernail and placed the baby back in the toilet," prosecutor David Deakin told the judge. "The defendant then placed toilet paper over the baby and left the bathroom."

Police said a cleaning woman found the infant and cried for help, leading two doctors who happened to be in the terminal to give emergency care to the child.

As security officers searched for the infant's mother, they noticed Angell in line for a flight, police said. Boarding pass in hand, the young woman was wearing blood-stained jeans and was fumbling with a bottle of pain medicine, police said.

Editor's note: If this young lady had sought an abortion the day before, she not only could have done so legally, she would have been praised by some for her courage.


The Boston Globe Online, September 27, 2000

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January 2001 Edition
Volume 9, Issue 4
January 2001