Mom may not face jail time for abandoning newborn

Special needs advocate: Rehabilitation could be an option if convicted

SAN ANTONIO – Accused of abandoning her newborn in a VIA park-and-ride restroom in October, Roseanne Welch, 25, sat outside the 399th District Court on Wednesday after an appearance where she’ll stand trial next year.

However, if she’s convicted, special needs advocate Pamela Allen said Welch may not face jail time, but be sentenced to undergo rehabilitation “to not repeat the same situation.”

Allen said it may be that the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services will be involved.

She said Welch’s family is hopeful that the court will consider, “Did she know what she was doing was wrong?”

Allen said by federal law, people with intellectual disabilities are held to a different standard than others.

The mother of a young man with high functioning autism who's worked with other special needs families, Allen has been helping Welch and her family deal with “this unfortunate incident.”

With their help, Allen recently obtained Welch’s school records documenting her intellectual disability as a student in the special education department of the Judson Independent School District.

Allen said both the Welch’s attorney and the District Attorney’s Office now have those records.

“We’re grateful those documents were made available,” Allen said. “It’s going to change how we look at this case and I’m happy about that.”

She said Welch and her family are relieved.

“They’re just happy now that it’s going to be looked at according to her ability,” Allen said.

Welch’s court-appointed attorney Andrea Polunsky didn’t respond, but District Attorney Nico LaHood said in a statement that his office will review all the evidence before deciding “the appropriate action to take in the case.”

Allen said the infant boy who had been on a ventilator is now breathing on his own.

However, in cases such as this, the child’s custody will be determined by a judge, according to Mary Walker, spokeswoman for Child Protective Services.

She said in these situations, typically CPS will be given temporary custody.

Allen said Welch has asked about the baby.

“Yes. Yes. I mean, she’s concerned. She does understand that part,” Allen said. “She and her mom have just been praying. Praying for a good outcome for the baby.”