Monty Ray Grow of Pinellas County, Florida and former Florida NFL player, was arrested Sunday for allegedly leaving a three-year-old girl unattended in a car while he visited a strip club, news sources report. Grow, 41, was booked into the Pinellas County Jail on charges of child abuse. He was later released after posting a $5,000 bail bond amount. The press did not specify an attorney for Grow.
According to reports, Grow attended the University of Florida, where he played college football for the Gators from 1989 to 1993. He later went on to play a season for the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Kansas City Chiefs. Grow has since retired from the NFL, sources say.
Reports say the incident occurred Sunday evening. Grow allegedly drove to the Diamond Dolls strip club in Clearwater with the three-year-old victim in the car with him. Reports were unable to specify a relationship between Grow and the victim. According to reports, Grow parked his car at a used car dealership on U.S. 19 North, left the victim inside, and walked into the strip club.
The victim’s mom and grandparents arrived on the scene before police and took the victim out of the car, sources say; the girl was apparently uninjured. When police arrived, Grow reportedly sprinted to the car and confessed to leaving the victim unattended. It was not immediately known how long the victim was in the car before she was removed. It now remains to be seen how this alleged incident will affect what, if any, custody Grow might have had over the child.
In a similar case from the same day, Romanie and Malory Pierre of Broward County, Florida were apprehended Sunday after they allegedly left four children in a vehicle unattended while they gambled inside a casino, sources report. Romanie, 31, and Malory, 27, were booked into jail on charges of child neglect without great harm. Their bond was set at $5,000; it is unknown whether they obtained legal representation.
Reports say the incident took place late Sunday at the Mardi Gras Casino in Hallandale Beach. Romaine and Malory reportedly arrived at the casino with four children, aged 2, 4, 5, and 8. Sources say the defendants left the four kids in the running car while they went into the casino, checked in at the player’s club, and gambled at the slot machines.
A witness called 911 after she noticed that the children had been in the car alone for nearly half an hour, reports say. Police arrived and found the children in the car; reports did not specify whether they suffered any adverse effects from their time in the car. The defendants were later discovered inside the casino. During a court hearing following the incident, a county judge told the defendants to stay away from casinos, but decided to let them keep in contact with their children.
Although these incidents did not have tragic endings, leaving children alone in vehicles can be dangerous and even fatal. According to the Department of Geosciences, 33 children died of heatstroke after being left alone in vehicles in 2012. As for 2013, 20 children have already died in this fashion; sadly, that number is expected to rise. According to the department, more than half of the victims of these types of accidents were left in the car by a caregiver who “forgot” they were there. Children intentionally left in the vehicle played a significant role in the nearly 600 heat stroke deaths since 1998, the department indicates.