A mother in Sebring, Florida, is facing child abuse charges after posting a video on Facebook that appears to show her 1-year-old child being bitten by a snake.
On Tuesday, the Highlands County Sheriff Office filed a charging affidavit for one count of cruelty toward a child against Chartelle Geanette St. Laurent, 34.
St. Laurent allegedly posted the video on Friday and deleted it after it went viral. Before she was identified publicly, she told local station WFTS that she put the snake close to her 1-year-old daughter in order to teach her a lesson about wildlife safety. She noted that both she and her son had already been bitten and hadn’t been harmed.
“It had bitten me and my son and didn’t leave a mark, several times. So, I thought it was a good opportunity to introduce her without actually getting hurt,” she told the station.
The daughter reached out and the snake then struck the baby’s right thumb, according to the affidavit. As a result, the daughter no longer wanted to touch the snake.
St. Laurent said she believes that people are being too sensitive about the incident.
“They just think that I hurt my child intentionally. The people that know me know that I would never hurt my children,” she told the station.
St. Laurent said she found the snake in her driveway and wanted to use it for a teachable moment with her kids on handling wildlife safely.
The mother also said her child was not hurt, but became scared of the snake’s movement.
“[The snake’s] teeth are too small to actually puncture the skin, so he’s very harmless,” she said, according to NBC4i.com
The video features the sound of her laughing after her child is bitten. St. Laurent told police that was because she was surprised by her daughter’s reaction to the snake attack, according to the probable cause affidavit.
She also said she has no regrets for the incident, according to CBS Miami.
In a release, the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office said the probable cause affidavit has been sent to the state’s attorney for review.