A Chicago rabbi has called on social service agencies to help a mother who has been accused of leaving her seven children alone inside a vacant Humboldt Park apartment.
Rabbi Michael Ben Yosef, president of Tikkun Chair Inter-National, held a news conference Saturday afternoon outside the Circuit Court of Cook County, where the mother, Jessie Hunt, made her first court appearance.
Chicago police arrested 31-year-old Hunt after officers discovered seven children inside a vacant apartment unit during a well-being check at approximately 4 p.m. Friday in the 700 block of North Trumbull, authorities said.
Officers found seven children: a 14-year-old girl, a 11-year-old boy, a 7-year-old boy, a 6-year-old girl, a 5-year-old boy, a 4-year-old girl and a 23-month-old baby.
Hunt was charged with seven counts of misdemeanor child endangerment.
According to prosecutors, a property manager tried to enter the unit, but discovered the door had been shut with a wooden two-by-four. Officers were called and eventually were able to get inside the apartment.
All of the children were taken to AMITA Health Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center and said to be in good condition, police stated.
Officers stated the apartment was littered with garbage, the stove burner was on, and the sink was overflowing.
One of the kids told police that their mother left to go buy a new kitchen sink.
The last time the children had eaten was the previous day, prosecutors stated.
Calling for empathy for Hunt's situation, Yosef said she needs help from social services instead of potential jail time.
"Needs to start with a bit of empathy and concern," he stated. "And there needs to be a call for every professional agency, the crisis invention centers, they were not called in this situation."
Defense attorneys stated the situation is a product of poverty. Hunt is a single mother with no criminal background.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is handling the case.