Offenses Against Persons

ORS 163.545
Child neglect in the second degree


A person having custody or control of a child under 10 years of age commits the crime of child neglect in the second degree if, with criminal negligence, the person leaves the child unattended in or at any place for such period of time as may be likely to endanger the health or welfare of such child.


Child neglect in the second degree is a Class A misdemeanor. [1971 c.743 §174; 1991 c.832 §2]

Notes of Decisions

Legislative intent is clearly that this section compliment ORS 163.555 (criminal nonsupport) and reach two different types of conduct, so where defendant left child unattended in car, causing death, defendant's acts of omission were subject to prosecution under this section rather than ORS 163.555. State v. Rosen, 38 Or App 107, 589 P2d 1132 (1979)

Where defendant's husband had history of violence toward her and her children and she had been warned by case worker that his presence around children was risky, leaving their child in care of husband while she performed brief errand was not sufficient evidence of criminal negligence necessary to support conviction under this section. State v. McLaughlin, 42 Or App 215, 600 P2d 474 (1979), Sup Ct review denied

Since this section provides fair notice of conduct it forbids and proscribes only conduct which constitutes gross deviation from normal standard of care, it is not unconstitutionally vague. State v. Mills, 52 Or App 777, 629 P2d 861 (1981), Sup Ct review denied

Though sanitary conditions of defendant's home were deplorable, defendant's leaving child with older brothers and sisters for one to two hours while grocery shopping did not constitute leaving her "unattended." State v. Forcum, 58 Or App 5, 646 P2d 1356 (1982)

Where defendant left children alone in house at night to attend party at tavern, adults who lived in house were cigarette smokers and matches and candles were lying around and children died from house fire there was sufficient evidence to find defendant guilty of child neglect under this section. State v. Goff, 297 Or 635, 686 P2d 1023 (1984)

For defendant to be guilty under this section, there must be sufficient evidence of both factual elements of endangering welfare of child and mental state or culpability element. State v. Goff, 297 Or 635, 686 P2d 1023 (1984)

Offense Requires Proof That

1) leaving child unattended was likely to endanger health and welfare of child; 2) risk of harm occurring was substantial and unjustifiable; and 3) defendant's lack of awareness of risk of harm was gross deviation from normal standard of care. State v. Paragon, 195 Or App 265, 97 P3d 691 (2004)

§§ 163.505 to 163.575

Law Review Citations

51 OLR 428 (1972)

Chapter 163

Law Review Citations

51 OLR 427-637 (1972)


Last accessed
Jun. 26, 2021