The 2-year-old girl, with her too-big tank top slipping off of her left shoulder, stands and watches television as she puts a joint to her lips and takes a puff before waving her arm to fan away smoke and continuing to puff on the marijuana cigarette.
The scene was caught on video using the mother’s cell phone – shot by the mother, a Hamilton County indictment Wednesday charges.
Jessica Gamble, 21, of Springfield Township, was indicted on three felonies – corrupting another with drugs, child endangering and tampering with evidence – that carry a maximum prison sentence of 11½ years.
“It’s beyond disgusting,” Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said of the video. “I would get very upset if I found out my 16-year-old daughter was drinking a beer.”
Gamble is accused of making or encouraging her daughter to smoke the joint.
“What’s quite disconcerting is she is handling this like she’s done this before,” Deters said of the child.
At one point on the 1 minute, 37 second video shot in August, a voice believed to be Gamble’s tells the girl “Don’t blow on” the joint.
After the child takes a few more puffs, the same voice asks, “What is that?” and then a hand grabs the child’s hand that is holding the joint. The person shooting the video – Gamble, the indictment alleges – takes the joint from the child’s fist and holds it up so it is in the middle of the image frame. Then she laughs.
“It is disturbing to think that a parent would provide their 2-year-old child with marijuana,” Deters said.
The child is living with a relative as Hamilton County Department of Jobs & Family Services investigates the incident.
The tampering with evidence charge, Deters said, was the result of Gamble deleting the video from her cell phone.
Before that happened, someone – Deters wouldn’t say who, noting that person is a key witness in the case – saw the video and was so disturbed at seeing the child smoking marijuana that the person forwarded the video to another cell phone.
Then it was shown to officials at JFS, who contacted police.
“I am very grateful for the person who brought this to our attention,” Deters said.