BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - A Boston man pleaded guilty Friday in state court and was sentenced to jail on charges his organization violated state child labor laws by illegally employing kids to solicit funds unattended.
Roderick Pendleton, 48, pleaded guilty to eight counts of child labor violations. He was sentenced to serve 30 days in the House of Corrections. The sentence was deemed time served because he was incarcerated while awaiting trial on other charges. His jail term will be followed by 18 months supervised probation.
As part of his probation, Pendleton was ordered "not to employ children in any capacity, nor to engage in any type of charitable fundraising activities unless duly registered with the Attorney General's Public Charities Division and in conformity with all regulatory requirements."
He will also have to pay restitution to the affected children in an amount to be determined.
According to Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley's office, Pendleton employed six underage children in the operation of his purported organization the "International Teenster Union, Inc." Also, Coakley said that Pendleton "would leave the children unattended on the streets of Roxbury, Dorchester, and Boston to solicit cash donations from the public for ITU, a purported charitable organization. The children solicited for money on behalf of ITU from motorists stopped at traffic lights and from shoppers in the parking lots of various chain stores, among others."
The children ranged in age from eight to 14 at the time of the incidents, which is a violation of Massachusetts law. Youths younger than the age of 14 cannot be employed in the state - with certain exceptions such as babysitting. Those older than the age of 14 may be employed, but state law restricts their employment in regards to both hours and type of occupation.
"Hiring underage children is both against the law and an unacceptable form of exploitation," Coakley said. "The defendant illegally hired children to solicit money while left unattended on the streets and in parking lots."