Teen father of abandoned baby arrested

Published On: Nov 07 2012 12:55:36 PM EST
Updated On: Nov 05 2012 04:51:12 PM EST
Reginald Person

Reginald Person

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The father of a baby who police said was abandoned by her mother 10 days ago was arrested Friday.

Reginald Person, 18, is charged with lewd and lascivious sexual activity on a person younger than 16.

Police said Person's girlfriend, 15-year-old Amber Collins (pictured below), abandoned her newborn baby outside a vacant apartment last month.

The baby is doing well now and in the custody of the Department of Children and Families, police said.

Person waived his first appearance Monday and was released to home supervision, meaning he will be allowed to go to work and school. He was also ordered to not talk to Collins.

Amber Collins The teen had been held in juvenile detention, despite his age, because police said the crime happened when he was 17.

He was arrested at the fast food restaurant where he worked.

Person's family, who were in the courtroom Monday, said they don't think he should be charged. They said the teens had been dating for years, and he was planning to take care of their baby.

"He really thought that he was going to be the dad, and he was already saving up his money, putting his checks, putting his checks in his account," said Javoris Brookins, Person's brother-in-law.

He said the teen even named the baby Kamayia Olivia.

"He went to see the baby," Brookins said. "He was happy about that. He wanted to keep his baby. He said that when he gets out he wants to see if he will be able to get his baby."

The charges Person is facing have nothing to do with the baby being abandoned, but the fact that the child's mother, Person's girlfriend, is a minor.

"Even though he is under 18, he can still commit that crime," said attorney Rick Alexander, who's not connected to the case.

He said the law states lewd and lascivious sexual acts can be committed by anyone who engages in sexual activity with a person between the ages of 12 and 16.

Alexander said neither age or consent are factors.

"She agreed, that's not a defense. So it's pretty much a strict liability crime," Alexander said. "If she is under 16 and he has sex with her, then that qualifies under the law."

Person's family said that despite these charges, he'll still be able to be a father to his daughter.

"He wants to get his child, and I think that he should sincerely be able to take care of his child," Brookins said.

Collins is charged with child neglect, a second-degree felony.

The teens' child was found Oct. 24 wrapped in a towel and on the ground in front of an apartment in the 3300 block of Monument Road in Fort Caroline.

A neighbor found the baby and called police, and the baby was taken to a hospital, where doctors determined the girl was only a couple hours old.

Days later, police were called by Collins' mother stating she thought her daughter gave birth to the baby. Collins was interviewed by police and admitted to leaving the baby at the vacant apartment, police said.

Person's next court date is Nov. 15.

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