TRAVELERS REST, S.C., July 21 (UPI) -- A South Carolina mother whose 14-year-old son weighs 555 pounds has been charged with criminal neglect, prosecutors said.
Jerri Gray's case could lead to more criminal action against parents of dangerously overweight children, her lawyer, Grant Varner, told USA Today in a story published Tuesday.
"If she's found guilty on those criminal charges, you have set a precedent that opens Pandora's box," Varner said. "Where do you go next?"
Gray, 49, of Travelers Rest, said she did everything she could to help her son, Alexander Draper, lose weight, but he apparently kept finding food while not under his mother's supervision, Varner said. Gray was charged last month and her son placed in foster care, Varner said.
In recent years, with child obesity on the rise, courts in Texas, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New York and New Mexico have expanded the definition of medical neglect to include morbid obesity and ruled children were victims of neglect, USA Today reported.