Emily Welker, Published March 17 2014
Fargo woman accused of prostituting at home; faces child neglect charge
Jeanette Ozuna, 20, was charged Friday in Cass County District Court with felony Class C abuse or neglect of a child. The charges allege she prostituted herself and used drugs in the home while caring for her newborn son, and that she failed to feed and properly nurture the baby.
Ozuna had been attending classes at Woodrow Wilson High School sporadically since early December, when she last reported being assaulted by an abusive boyfriend while her then-newborn son was present, a police report says. The boyfriend broke her teeth, gave her a black eye and choked her, she told an officer. Ozuna told an officer she was dating the abusive boyfriend because he had money and brought her food.
On Feb. 19, Ozuna told Fargo school resource officer Melissa Westby at Woodrow “she was in a bad spot and needed to change what was going on in her life,” according to court records. She had been “hooking herself out” on backpages.com, Ozuna told the officer, and had acquired a john who was paying her $2,000 to have sex with him, she allegedly said.
At the time, she told Westby, she had not brought her customers to the home where she lived with her son, the report alleges.
Ozuna told the officer she needed a break from her son, but did not want to give him up for adoption or foster care because Ozuna had grown up in foster care, court documents say.
Westby told Ozuna she needed to stop her criminal activity, or she would take steps to take away her child, the report says.
On Feb. 24, the report says, two Fargo police detectives went to the school to tell Westby they took a theft report from Ozuna reporting she was robbed of $300 by a prostitution customer she’d had in her home, who showed her a gun.
Westby spoke on Feb. 27 with a confidential informant, who told her Ozuna had recently taken down her backpages.com prostitution ad. Ozuna was still bringing men home with her after meeting them at The Hub, and they brought marijuana with them to smoke with Ozuna, the informant said. The informant described Ozuna’s house as “a whorehouse with a baby in it.”
The informant also told Westby that Ozuna didn’t appear to know what to do with her baby, that the child seemed like he wasn’t being fed, bathed or held enough, and that he was underdeveloped for his age.
The informant told Westby that Ozuna only picked up her child when no one else was present, often putting him in his crib and shutting the door when he cried.
Officers went later that day to Ozuna’s home, where they took the infant into protective custody.
Her first court appearance has not been set.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Emily Welker at (701) 241-5541