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A woman watched her husband kill his three-year-old daughter (from a previous relationship) over the course of three days of beatings. At trial, on a misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of a child, her defense boiled down to: What’s it got to do with me? But New York’s high court found it had everything to do with her. The endangerment statute applies to “parent, guardian or other person legally charged with the care or custody of a child,” but it provides no definition of “person legally charged.” Expanding parental responsibility beyond the traditional family, the court said, “It would be incongruous for biological parents and guardians, but not a stepmother who assumes the primary caretaking role during the child’s visits, to be liable for endangering the welfare of a child.” A misdemeanor?

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