Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Wednesday night his office will not prosecute a mother who left her newborn boy in the Christmas manger display at a Richmond Hill church because her actions "followed the spirit of New York's 'Safe Haven Law.' "
In a statement, Brown said the mother told investigators the relative safety of Holy Child Jesus Church meant the baby would be found unharmed.
Brown said the Safe Haven Law allows a parent to leave a child 30 days old or younger "with an appropriate person or in a suitable location where the parent promptly notifies an appropriate person of the child's location."
The mother also told investigators she left the newborn in the manger "because it was the warmest place in the church," Brown said.
A church custodian found the infant Monday afternoon in a manger set up as part of a Christmas display, the NYPD said.
Police estimated the child was 5 hours old when he was found.
Since Monday, NYPD investigators followed leads and studied surveillance video taken at about the same time the infant was placed in the manger.
Jose Moran, the custodian, told reporters Tuesday he discovered the naked, crying baby with the umbilical cord still attached and called church officials.
Wrapped in towels and nicknamed "Baby Jesus," the infant was taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, where officials said the child was in stable condition.
The Administration for Children's Services took the child into custody, said a city official who didn't want to be named.
A spokesman for ACS declined to comment about the case, citing privacy laws.
A family in the parish offered to adopt the child, the Rev. Christopher Heanue said Tuesday.
Heanue, an assistant pastor at the church, didn't respond to telephone and email messages left Wednesday.