CRUELTY TO CHILDREN.
AN ACT for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met:
SECTION 1. Any husband who willfully neglects to provide for the support and maintenance of his wife or his minor children dependent upon him for support, or shall willfully desert the same, or any of them, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof before any court of record or justice of the peace, shall be fined not less than ten dollars, or more than one hundred dollars for each and every offence.
SECTION 2. Any girl apparently under the age of sixteen years and any boy apparently under the age of fourteen years, that comes within any of the following descriptions named; that is known to be habitually begging or receiving or gathering alms, whether actually begging or under the pretense of peddling or offering for sale anything, or being in any street, road or public place for the purpose of so begging,
gathering or receiving alms, that is found wandering and not having any house or settled place of abode, or proper guardianship, or visible means of subsistence; that is found destitute, either being an orphan or having a vicious parent who is undergoing penal servitude or imprisonment; that frequents the company of reputed thieves or prostitutes or houses of assignation or prostitution, or dance houses, concert saloons, variaties, or places specified in Section iv of this act, without parent or guardian, shall be arrested and brought before any court of record or justice of the peace. When, upon examination before a court of record or a justice of the peace, it shall appear that any such child has been engaged in any of the aforesaid acts, or comes within any of the aforesaid descriptions, such court or justice of the peace, when it or he shall deem it expedient for the welfare of the child, shall commit
such child to an orphan asylum, charitable or other organization or institution, or make such other disposition thereof as now is or may hereafter be provided by law.
In case of vagrants, truants, disorderly, pauper or destitute children, person or persons representing himself, herself or themselves to be, or passing himself, herself or themselves off as the parent or guardian of a child or children referred to in any of the aforesaid sections of this act, and it shall appear that such person is not either the parent or guardian of said child, such person or persons shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof by any court or justice of the peace, shall be fined not more than twenty dollars and costs for each and every offence, upon the return of any writ of habeas corpus issuing for the production of any child so committed, the court or judge before whom the habeas corpus proceeding is tried, may review the facts upon which the commitment was made and hear new evidence, and remand, release or commit such minor.
SECTION 3. Any proprietor, or any person in charge of any dance house, concert saloon, theatre, museum or similar place of amusement where wines or spirituous or malt liquors are sold or given away, who admits or permits to remain therein, any minor under the age of eighteen years, unless accompanied by his or her parent or guardian, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction thereof before any court of record or justice of the peace, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars.
SECTION 4. Any person or persons who shall, without the color of right, forcibly abduct, take or convey away any child under the age of twelve years, from the home or usual place of abode of such child, or from the custody and control of the parent or parents or lawful guardian or guardians of such child, or be accessory thereto, or who shall, without such color or right, and against the consent of the parent or parents, or lawful guardian or guardians of such child, persuade or entice from the usual place of abode or house of such child, or from the custody and control of the parent or parents, or guardian or guardians of such child, or be accessory thereto, or who shall knowingly secrete or harbor such child or be accessory thereto, with the intent to deprive such parent or parents, guardian or guardians, or any person who may be in lawful possession of such child, of the custody, care and co control of such child, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof, shall suffer imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, or shall pay a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars, or both, in the discretion of the court.
SECTION 5. Whoever prints, publishes, sells, or distributes a book, pamphlet, ballad, printed paper or other thing containing any obscene or indecent picture of any description tending to the corruption of morals of youth, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof by any court of record, shall be fined not exceeding one hundred dollars.
SECTION 6. The levy court of New Castle County shall have authority to make an appropriation or appropriations annually to the Delaware Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, a corporation of this State, in aid of the objects of said corporation.
Passed at Dover, April 11, 1887.