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How Jennifer Crumbley's guilty verdict can open up parents to criminal charges

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In many ways, Jennifer Crumbley’s parenting was on trial when she was ultimately found guilty Tuesday of involuntary manslaughter in her son’s school shooting spree in suburban Detroit in 2021.


Prosecutors in Oakland County, Michigan, picked apart the time she spent with her horses, an extramarital affair, the ignoring of text messages from her teenage son, Ethan, now imprisoned, and her decision not to seek out a mental health professional for him in order to highlight a perceived pattern of neglectful actions.


Now, with a conviction against Crumbley, what parents do or fail to do will come under further scrutiny and potentially lead to more criminal prosecutions, some legal experts contend, and not solely for cases of mass shootings.


“The theory of, ‘Hey, if the parents were better parents, this wouldn’t have happened,’ I can easily see prosecutors using that,” said Michael Bullotta, a former federal prosecutor-turned-defense lawyer in Detroit.