The Hamilton County, Ohio prosecutor’s office just announced that no charges will be filed against Michelle Gregg, the mother of the boy who entered Harambe the gorilla’s enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo last week.
“She was being attentive to her children by all witness accounts,” Hamilton County prosecutor Joseph T. Deters said at a press conference. “And the 3-year-old just scampered off.”
He added, “if anyone doesn’t believe a 3-year-old can scamper off very quickly, they’ve never had kids because they can, and they do.”
On May 28, the three-year-old boy endured an intense ten minutes inside the enclosure before the zoo determined that the 450-pound gorilla needed to be shot to prevent any harm from coming to the boy.
Since then, despite a torrent of criticism from those who believe that the zoo needlessly killed an innocent member of a critically endangered species, the zoo has maintained that its decision was the right one, with several animal experts taking the zoo’s side.
But what many people on both sides of the issue have agreed on is that Gregg, 32, must face much of the blame. And while Gregg may continue to take a beating in the court of public opinion, the Hamilton County prosecutor’s has just made clear that she will not be dragged into a court of law.
One witness, Kimberly Ann Perkins, said that she heard the boy tell Gregg that he was going to enter the enclosure before Gregg was distracted by the other children accompanying her. “Her attention was drawn away for seconds, maybe a minute, and then he was up and in before you knew it,” Perkins said.
Over the weekend, authorities interviewed Gregg and her child and have determined that no charges — such as child endangerment — should be pressed.
If there’s going to be Justice for Harambe, it’ll have to come another way.