SEBRING, Fla. (WSVN) — A central Florida woman who intentionally let her young daughter get bit by a snake will not face child abuse charges.
The State Attorney’s Office said Tuesday they would not pursue a case against Chantelle St. Laurent, who earlier this month posted a video on Facebook, showing her 1-year-old daughter reaching into a container to touch the snake. The footage showed the snake biting the girl.
“She says she was just trying to teach the child to be afraid of snakes,” said Scott Dressel with the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office.
Prosecutors said there was not enough evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, Fox 13 reports.
Sheriff Paul Blackman said their Special Victims Unit spoke with snake expert Greg Graziani about the troubling video.
“Graziani said he had shared the video with a colleague from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and while both felt that the treatment of the snake and the child were not wise, they did not see any criminal actions,” Blackman said.
Chantelle’s mother Brenda defended her daughter’s method of teaching her child to be afraid of snakes, saying she had done the same thing to Chantelle while raising her.
“She regrets putting it on Facebook for all these morons,” said Brenda St. Laurent to Fox 13. “But as far as teaching the child? No. And I don’t regret her doing it either.”
Brenda said Chantelle purposely chose a non-poisonous snake to show her daughter, whose skin was not broken from the reptile’s bite.
“There was no harm to the baby,” she said. “The baby is fine, a happy, healthy baby.”
Sheriff Blackman said he hopes other parents choose a different method of helping their children learn.
“While we all have a duty to teach our children, we should always think about the methods involved in that education and realize that some methods are just not appropriate, especially when the child is too young to understand the situation and comprehend the intended lesson,” he said.
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