Man charged second time in child neglect
PORT CHARLOTTE — Charlotte County Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit detectives arrested a Port Charlotte man Thursday and charged him with child neglect for the second time. On Aug. 4, a motorist called CCSO at 6:48 p.m. to report two young children were walking down the middle of Easy Street near Martin Drive. One was in soiled diapers, the other wearing dirty cloths. Charged was Keith James Grasso, 29, of the 100 block of Dunn Drive. Deputies responded and located the 1½-year-old boy and his 3½-year-old sister who were about three blocks from their home. Deputies said the youngest with the soiled diaper appeared to have been on him more than 24 hours, and the girl had numerous cuts on her legs that were not bandaged. Her clothes also had dirt marks. MCU detectives responded and contacted the Department of Children and Families.
Detectives met with Grasso, the father, and the 26-year-old mother, Sarah Douglas. The mother said she took her prescribed medicine to sleep in the bedroom, and Grasso fell asleep watching television on the couch. Neither could say what time they last saw the children. The refrigerator was checked, and there were few food items inside. The floors throughout the entire house were covered with feces and urine. The children’s room had clothing scattered around, stains on the mattress, and the door to the bedroom was broken off the hinges. The children were taken to the Sheriff’s Mid-County Office in Promenades Mall and appeared undernourished, dirty, bitten by bugs, had cuts and scrapes. The girl had a rash about her back and bottom. Both were not wearing shoes and had dirty feet. Detectives said they smelled of dried feces. Both children were taken from the parents by DCF and placed in a Fort Myers home. When the DCF investigator met with Grasso, he appeared confused, was very slow, and appeared under the influence. He was asked to take a drug test, as is DCF procedure, and tests showed presence of THC (marijuana) in his system and he smelled of alcohol. MCU detectives said there is a continuous pattern of neglect with care and health of the children. On Oct. 23, 2009, Grasso was arrested for child neglect for leaving his daughter in his car while shopping at Save-a-Lot in Port Charlotte. He said she fell asleep and he forgot she was in the car. Detectives said the investigation continues, and more charges may possibly be filed. Grasso remains in the Charlotte County Jail on no bond.