WINTER GARDEN, Fla. – No charges will be filed against a mother and her roommate who were accused of dressing her son as a girl in Winter Garden, despite their December arrest for aggravated child abuse.
Prosecutors said Monday that there was no evidence suitable for prosecuting Christle Prado and Keith Driscoll.
"The initial arrest referred to Cruelty Toward Child Infliction of Physical or Mental Injury (Statute 827.03)," said Angela Starke, public information officer for the Orange/Osceola County State Attorney's Office. "The statute requires that the crime cause injury to intellectual or psychological capacity of a child as 'evidenced by discernible and substantial impairment in the ability of the child to function within the normal range.'"
According to Winter Garden police, officers were contacted November 24 about a possible child abuse incident. Photos were given to authorities that showed the 10-year-old boy dressed as a girl, including makeup.
Prado told police that Driscoll, her landlord and roommate, came up with the idea for punishment after she told him that her son often wet his pants and soiled himself.
Police said the boy has a documented medical condition.
Prado said her son was dressed up only a couple of minutes, but added that she took photos with her phone and sent them via private Facebook message to her boyfriend in West Palm Beach.
A neighbor told Local 6 that Driscoll also made the boy run around outside while others pointed and laughed at him because he was dressed as a girl. Neighbors also said the abuse of the boy and his two siblings has been going on for a long time.
Asked why she would allow someone who is not related to her to discipline her son, Prado said she did not necessarily agree with the idea but went along with it because she did not want to cause problems or ruin her living situation.
The boy and his two siblings were placed in the custody of a family member, according to the Florida Department of Children and Families, which added that it has investigated previous incidents involving the woman.
When Local 6 inquired about previous incidents, DCF would not elaborate.
"Any prior history with this agency would not be public record in this situation," said Kristi Gray, communications director at the Florida Department of Children and Families. "It only becomes public when there is a death attributed to abuse/neglect."
DCF said Monday that the case against Prado was closed.
"Statute mandates that DCF investigations be closed by the 60th date unless there are special circumstances to keep it open," Gray said. "I can't disclose the findings of our case as they are not public record, but the children remain in protective custody with relatives."
Case management services and the court will continue to be involved.