PORT ST. LUCIE, FL (WPTV/CNN) - A Florida mother is facing a child neglect charge after she allowed her son to walk to a local park alone.
She says he's old enough, but police disagreed.
"I'm totally dumbfounded by this whole situation," said Nicole Gainey
Last Saturday afternoon, Gainey gave her son Dominic permission to walk from their house to nearby Sportsman Park, about a half mile from their home and 10 minutes walk.
"I honestly didn't think I was doing anything wrong, I was letting him go play," Gainey said.
Along the way the 7-year-old passed a public pool. Someone there asked him where his mom was.
"They asked me a couple questions and I got scared so I ran off to the park and then they called the cops," Dominic said.
Dominic was playing at the park when Port St. Lucie Police pulled up, asking where his mother was.
Police took him home and that's when his mom was arrested, charged with child neglect. Gainey says she was shocked.
"My own bondsman said 'my parents would have been in jail every day,'" Gainey said.
The officer wrote in the report that Dominic was unsupervised at the park and that "numerous sex offenders reside in the vicinity."
"He just basically kept going over that there's pedophiles," Gainey said.
But Gainey said she believes Dominic is mature enough to go to the park alone during the day. She adds he always has a cell phone, which she calls to check on him.
Gainey plans to fight the felony charge. But after this, she won't let Dominic go to the park alone. She's afraid she'll be arrested again.