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Is This Justice? Ohio Man Loses Job, Arrested After Kid Skips Church to Play in Neighborhood Instead

An Ohio man says his life was turned upside down all because his 8-year-old decided to skip church.

Jeffrey Williamson claimed that he was in his living room in his Blanchester, Ohio home when the church van pulled up on Sunday morning.

“My kids run in the house in the living room here and tell me, ‘Hey, Dad, the church van’s here. We’re leaving. We’re going on to church,’ ” Williamson said.

He did not realize that his 8-year-old, Justin, had other plans and never got into the van.

Somehow, a while later, Justin ended up a half a mile from his family’s home at a Family Dollar Store and police were called. The officers also said that Justin did not know his address or how to get home, something Justin’s dad said cannot possibly be true.

“He knows his way around this whole neighborhood right here,” Williamson explained. “I told the cop he goes out in the neighborhood and plays every day with all the other kids.There’s a million kids around here that play. I know the parents. The parents know me.”

Williamson also said that the police, who eventually brought Justin home, were still around when the van pulled up to drop off the other kids and he was arrested right in front of Justin and his siblings.

“Every time that we leave in our car or drive down the street or something like that, every time they see a cop in Blanchester, they freak out and say, ‘Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, are they going to arrest you?'” Williamson said.

When the arrest was made public, Williamson also lost his job at McDonald’s (he has since found another job).  He is now due in court on July 15th to face child endangerment charges and may face up to six months in jail.

“It’s ridiculous to me that I was arrested for this,” he said, claiming he and his family have paid much too high of a cost because his kid decided to skip church to go play.

Photo Credit: ABC 7

About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.

  • Thomas Fisher

    Welcome to the United (Police) States of America.

  • Debra Diroll

    Religion is evil in so many ways.

    • Jim Haldeman

      i agree, but what does religion have to do with this? nothing so far as i can tell.

    • Jr Leon

      Not sure what you were reading but the Church had nothing to do with this They were mentioned only to let use know where the other kids were at and where this child was suppose to be.

  • Earlene

    how can this be when a man in Ky. Left a child alone and she was found wondering the streets and nothing happened to him and she was only six.

  • psphilip

    so it is now child endagerment if the kid plays and doesn ot go t ochurch? since when are the police the CHURCH police? FALSE ARREST make em pay

  • Leah P’Dexter

    Typical. You’d think Boehner would intervene and stop this BS.

  • GeeJayBee

    Somehow I feel like there is more to this story than the kid skipping church.

    • Jamie

      I think it was because the dad thought the kid was in church and the church thought the kid was with dad and no one really knew where he was.Stuff happens.He shouldnt have been arrested .Now if they had arrested the bus driver too for not making sure the kid went back inside it would be fair.Now dont get me wrong I dont think neither should be arrested but they was both at fault.

  • Kathy Mayo

    This is just ridiculous!!

  • Jean Hayduck

    Why did the police get involved? Was he stealing from the store or something?

    • Jamie

      seems the person at the dollar store called about a unattended child.

      • Jean Hayduck


  • Janet Cater

    I used to walk to the local strip mall about 1/2 mile away and no one thought anything about it. This seems crazy to me.

  • Michelle Lee-Reid

    I think there must be more to this story–it just seems so absurd!

  • Jamie

    He was arrested for not knowing where his kid was not for his kid not going to church.The story says the van pulled up,the kid told dad “church van is here Im going to church” but then did not get on the bus.Instead walked to the store where someone called the police about an unattended child.

    • myxklptk

      That’s still no reason to arrest him.

  • alykatma

    When I was a kid we would go to stores all the time, to buy candy, unattended. We would bike all over our town when we were kids. WTF is this.

    • Times have changed. I used to go to the store by myself and walk to school when I was a kid. People have become so paranoid about child abduction, kids aren’t allowed to go anywhere by themselves. I’m not saying that I agree with this arrest because I don’t, but that’s how things are now.

  • rogerrramjet

    I realize times have changed but half a mile??? SERIOUSLY?? That is practically stone throwing distance. Jeez we used to walk a mile or more to school in some of the areas we lived in When I lived in Tampa the school was almost two miles away. My friend Kelly and I walked to and from school all the time. I was 8 through 10 when we lived there.

    When we lived in Hawaii, it was more than a mile just to the bus stop. Granted I was a bit older 14.

    The point is half a mile is NOTHING. Arresting this father is foolish and a waste of taxpayer money.

  • Alan Batterman

    At age 4, I would walk to the corner store on errands. An 8 year old in a store during daylight hours is nothing unusual.

  • Ronald N. Wall

    Another example of good intentions (child safety laws) and the justice system gone awry. What has happened to common sense and real justice in this country. This could have happened to any parent.