Woman gets three months in jail for leaving children in car trunk

The Associated Press
Wednesday August 01, 2001

SAN JOSE — A woman who repeatedly left her young children in the trunk of her car while she was at work – and once turned up the radio to drown out one boy’s cries – was sentenced to three months in jail and five months of home detention Tuesday. 

A tearful Rosemarie Radovan, 31, also was sentenced to five years of probation. She pleaded no contest in March to two counts of felony child endangerment. 

Radovan was arrested in November after a co-worker told police he heard her 5-year-old son crying while he and Radovan drove to get ice cream. Radovan turned up the car’s radio and kept driving – a fact that Judge Robert Ambrose said he found “particularly offensive.” 

Investigators determined that Radovan had left the boy and her other son, then 7, in the trunk as many as 10 times in a year while she worked at an electronics-manufacturing company in Santa Clara. 

On some occasions, the car’s back seat was lowered so the boys could crawl from the trunk into the passenger section, prosecutor Dan Nishigaya said. The children were never physically harmed, he said. 

Radovan cried and repeatedly apologized when she took the stand at her sentencing hearing Tuesday.  

The single mother said she has been in counseling and working on her parenting skills in hopes of someday being reunited with her sons, who have been living with her parents. 

“I know what I did was wrong,” Radovan said, breaking down in tears.  

“I’m sorry about that. I love my children so much.” 

Radovan could have been sentenced to more than seven years behind bars. Nishigaya asked the judge for a “minimal to moderate” sentence and said outside court that he felt the decision for eight months in custody  

was appropriate. 

Radovan was comforted by several relatives after the hearing and did not speak to reporters. The children were not in attendance. 

Radovan’s arrest raised questions about the ability of working-class parents to afford child care in Silicon Valley, where the cost of living remains exorbitant. Prosecutors, however, pointed out that Radovan was driving a new car.