A. Cruelty to juveniles is:
(1) The intentional or criminally negligent mistreatment or neglect by anyone seventeen years of age or older of any child under the age of seventeen whereby unjustifiable pain or suffering is caused to said child. Lack of knowledge of the child’s age shall not be a defense; or
(2) The intentional or criminally negligent exposure by anyone seventeen years of age or older of any child under the age of seventeen to a clandestine laboratory operation as defined by R.S. 40:983 in a situation where it is foreseeable that the child may be physically harmed. Lack of knowledge of the child’s age shall not be a defense.
(3) The intentional or criminally negligent allowing of any child under the age of seventeen years by any person over the age of seventeen years to be present during the manufacturing, distribution, or purchasing or attempted manufacturing, distribution, or purchasing of a controlled dangerous substance in violation of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law. Lack of knowledge of the child’s age shall not be a defense.
B. The providing of treatment by a parent or tutor in accordance with the tenets of a well-recognized religious method of healing, in lieu of medical treatment, shall not for that reason alone be considered to be criminally negligent mistreatment or neglect of a child. The provisions of this Subsection shall be an affirmative defense to a prosecution under this Section. Nothing herein shall be construed to limit the provisions of R.S. 40:1299.36.1.
C. The trial judge shall have the authority to issue any necessary orders to protect the safety of the child during the pendency of the criminal action and beyond its conclusion.
D. Whoever commits the crime of cruelty to juveniles shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than ten years, or both.
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Updated: February 17, 2014