Father Arrested for Child Endangerment

January 14, 2009 12:29:30 AM PST
A disturbing scene played out this evening in front of thousands of drivers passing by Blackstone and Shaw.What they saw was a seven year old Fresno girl begging for money, with her father asleep next to her. Upset drivers called police.

What we found is that some people seem to be exploiting children, to get sympathy, and money. But it was a scene that shocked us and other passersby. A little girl sitting on the corner of the busiest intersection in the city. Holding a sign asking for money next to a man sprawled on the sidewalk.

We may be used to seeing panhandlers on the street corner ... but look at this. A little girl, 7 years old, is holding a sign asking for money for her "single dad." He appeared to be passed out on the sidewalk, while a woman came and took something from the girl, and was then seen counting money. We confronted the woman, and the man.

"What's going on you've got a little girl out on the street collecting money."

"She's not a little girl. She's my daughter."

The man, who identified himself to us as "Renegade" claims he's out on street to raise money for rent, for the girl and her younger sister. He says it's a regular thing.

"I do it during the day. I pick them up after school. We come out here for an hour. On the weekend we spend two hours."

Renegade says the girl isn't being mistreated, and called her over to talk to us.

"Hey, get over here!"

We're concealing her identity to protect her.

"How's it feel to be out here?"

She didn't answer.

"As a father, how does it feel to be out her on the street with your daughter, as a beggar."

"She's not a beggar. Not according to the cops."

Renegade claims police and child protective services have contacted him many times, and say he's not doing anything wrong.

But Fresno Police received several calls from passing drivers and when they arrived on the scene they arrested "Renegade."

David Selecky of the Fresno Police Dept. said, "He's being arrested for public drunkenness and child endangerment."

The girls mother arrived with her little sister, and offered this explanation.

"I go to the doctor. He's watching my kid ... "Yeah, he's begging on the street with her. Did you know that?"

While Renegade was taken away, the girl was turned over to her mother. They got on a bus and disappeared. Police say they will notify Fresno County Child Protective Services.

So the big question is what becomes of the girls?

I'm just hoping they won't be back on the street after school on Wednesday.

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