In Jefferson City, Mary and Marc Vaucher of Fulton pleaded guilty on Thursday to failure to properly secure a child less than 40-lbs in a seat belt. They were fined $50. Personally, I do not understand how $50 is sufficient considering that there was more to this case than a simple seat belt violation. Reportedly, a witness driving by the Vaucher's stopped vehicle as they watched them open the vehicle trunk as the 5-year old child climbed out. In their defense, the grandparents justified their actions on the basis that they had purchased tables and chairs and could not fit them in the trunk but could in the back seats so they had the child sit in the 'closed' trunk instead. According to the news reports, the child was unharmed and released into the custody of another family member; however, I argue that this type of incident could result in psychological trauma such as claustrophobia in the child's future. In my expert opinion, and regardless of the reason for locking a child in the trunk of a vehicle, this is a form of child abuse and a $50 fine is just ridiculous and a slap on the wrist.
October 13, 2013