Jerri Gray, the mother of a 14-year-old boy who weighs 555 pounds, has been charged with felony child neglect by South Carolina. Her son has been taken to foster care, and she faces 10 years in prison for putting her son at risk by neglecting his medical needs. Gray, who works three jobs, has told the media that her son got so overweight because she could not keep track of what he was eating.
Gray was a fugitive this past Spring, going to Maryland with her son while authorities attempted to bring the abuse charges. At that time, South Carolina's Department of Social Services said: "This agency doesn't get involved in such cases based on a child's weight alone, but will take action in cases where health care professionals believe the child is at risk due to the parent's possible neglect in providing medical care."
Still, Gray's attorneys say the case could potentially set a dangerous precedent that could, for example, be used to charge parents of anorexic children. If you can charge a parent for a kid being overweight, could you charge parents with underweight children too?
Should childhood obesity be considered grounds for charging a parent with child abuse?