Scared Straight Disaster

Thursday, February 24, 2011 - 12:40pm

Couple could be charged after threatening to abandon 6-year-old at police station to "teach her a lesson".

Police on Staten Island say 25-year old Annette Gerhardt and 27-year Gerardo Santiago tried to leave their 6-year old daughter at the 120 precinct station house Friday.

Officers say the girl's mother told them, "I can't take it anymore. She is uncontrollable. I'm going to leave her here. If you don't take her, I will take her to the firehouse."

So the officers arrested both parents, charging them with endangering the welfare of a child.

The girl's parents say the police officers totally overreacted to what they say was a joke aimed at teaching their daughter a lesson.

It all began when Enayla Santiago's first grade teacher sent a letter home telling her parents that their daughter had been acting up in class, talking and getting up out of her seat.

Her parents say the decided to take her to the station house to scare her.

"Go in there and tell her this is where bad boys and girls go and have her say, 'Mommy, Mommy, I'll be good. I don't see anything wrong with that, said Gerardo Santiago, the girl's father.

"I never said I wanted to leave her there. Those words never came out of my mouth," said Annette Gerhardt, the girl's mother.

Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan says the officers did the right thing by not taking a chance, "and possibly preventing these parents from abandoning the girl somewhere less safe."

When asked about what happened, Enayla Santiago said, "It was too scary."

The Administration for Children's Service is now working with the family while the District Attorney contemplates whether to move forward with criminal charges.

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