Homeless man accused of leaving baby in unlocked car unattended
Brown County Courthouse, New Ulm
A homeless man is accused of leaving a baby in an unlocked vehicle, unattended in New Ulm last month.
Damien Paul Molliere, 18, was charged Monday with two counts of gross misdemeanor child neglect in Brown County Court.
According to a criminal complaint, a passerby noticed a child unsupervised in a vehicle at the New Ulm Recreation Center on January 13 and called police, who arrived on the scene about seven minutes later.
The complaint says the child was 14 months old.
The responding officer discovered the door to the vehicle was unlocked. The child was left in the care of one officer while the other went inside the facility to locate the person responsible for the child.
According to the complaint, Molliere responded to the front desk when staff paged for the owner of the vehicle. The complaint says Molliere was sweaty and defensive, telling police he had only been at the rec center for 30 minutes to “grab his s**t.”
Molliere told police the child belonged to his girlfriend, who works four to five days per week and does not have daycare. He admitted his car doors do not lock, according to the complaint.
“It was appallingly obvious that [Molliere] felt no responsibility for [the baby], even though he is the primary caregiver,” reads the complaint, which also says Molliere was on his phone instead of tending to the child, whom police had brought inside when they deemed it too cold for the baby to stay outdoors. A Brown County Sheriff’s deputy and a New Ulm Police officer looked after the child while police spoke to Molliere, according to the complaint.
Investigators say surveillance video from the recreation center showed Molliere walking into the facility at 2:42 p.m. Officers had him paged at 4:26 p.m.
The child’s mother arrived at the facility at about 5:30 p.m., according to police, who say the mother also seemed unconcerned when she learned the baby had been in the vehicle alone and unsecured.
The complaint says the temperature was 31 degrees and dropping on January 31.