ELYRIA — An Elyria man who was charged with child endangering Thursday after his 4-year-old son was found alone on a street near his home said he feels police overreacted to the incident, which he said was an unfortunate accident.
On Thursday, Jesse Bolt, Sr., 31, was issued a citation for child endangering at his home on 13th Street. He was ordered to appear in court Nov. 26.
The charges were filed after Bolt’s son was found wandering the streets at 11:45 p.m. Wednesday, prompting a police investigation. Police said Bolt was sleeping when his son reportedly unlocked the door to his home and walked out the door.
Police said the incident warranted charges, because the 4-year-old was involved in a similar incident last year when he was found by three women with his then-2-year-old sister walking in the middle of the street at 9:11 a.m., while his mother, Viola Bolt, was sleeping, according to a police report.
She was charged with two counts of child endangering, but those charges were dropped in court.
Jesse Bolt said he and his wife weren’t together when she was charged with child endangering last year, and he should not have been charged with a crime.
He said he and the children had gone to bed for the night. At some point in the night, his son pushed a chair up to the door, unlocked the locks and walked out of the house while the family was asleep.
Bolt said Wednesday night was a scare for him, but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about his children. As a young boy, Bolt said he would often “run away” from his home to explore, and his son is naturally curious. The incident could happen to any parent, he added.
“I thought prior that I had done everything I could,” he said. “I hate to say you have to lock your house down like a jail, but if your kids are rambunctious, maybe you should do that.”
Bolt has since installed new locks on his door and said he will install motion detector lights.
But Bolt said police have portrayed him unfairly, and he has taken criticism from others after the charges. On Wednesday night, he was tired from working 10-hour shifts, five to six days a week, but he said he doesn’t neglect his parenting duties.
“I take care of my kids. I’m a good father. … And I can say that until I’m blue in the face,” he said.