Clinton teen in trouble for offering ‘free baby’ on Craigslist

CLINTON – (AP) Police say charges are pending against a Clinton teen for pulling a prank on a friend when he advertised a free baby boy on Craigslist using the friend’s cellphone number on the contact information.

Police Chief Don Byington would not identify the youths involved, but told The Clarion-Ledger the posting was “a bad practical joke.”

Byington said the 18-year-old student at Clinton High took a photo of an unknown baby boy and placed the advertisement on Craigslist to give away – not to sell – the baby.

Officers consulted with Craigslist and used the cellphone number to track down what happened, he said.

The male student whose number was used without his permission “didn’t know until his friends called it to his attention,” Byington said.

He said police interviewed the student on Monday.

“We’ve talked to everyone involved, and we are consulting with the district attorney’s office to see if there are any charges to be brought,” Byington said. “We are exploring that.”

Hinds County Assistant District Attorney Jamie McBride said the posting of such information on Craigslist can be prosecuted under state law that makes the “posting of messages through electronic media for the purpose of causing injury to another person” a felony.

A conviction carries up to five years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine, McBride said.

Youth offenders under 18 would not be prosecuted as an adult, but instead would fall under the jurisdiction of Youth Court, he said.

“It would be considered a delinquency charge,” he said.

Byington said the student now understands his actions can be prosecuted.

“I think after speaking with him, he realized the magnitude of what took place when he placed it on there,” the chief said. “It’s a lack of maturity on his part.”

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