For the first time we're hearing from the Chesterfield parents accused of letting their young daughter drink beer at a Richmond Flying Squirrels game. Erin and Russell Ellis faced a judge Wednesday morning on charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
On his way out of court, Russell said this whole thing has gotten out of hand and has been blown up. He and his wife face up to a year behind bars if convicted. This all started after another fan snapped a photo at The Diamond.
Police say witnesses took a picture of Erin giving her young daughter a beer at the Squirrels game and the father, Russell, did nothing to stop it. Wednesday, we learned another side of the story from the Ellises themselves.
"We're not animals," Russell Ellis asserted.
Erin says she posted on her Facebook page after the incident: "I just got kicked out of a Flying Squirrels game. Cross this off my white trash list. So a lovely citizen took a picture of (my daughter) taking a sip of my beer. I was watching the game and didn't realize."
The judge ordered the Department of Social Services and Child Protective Services to be notified of the case. He told the Ellises that is standard protocol and he would do that with anyone facing this particular type of charge.
The couple will also have to submit to alcohol and substance abuse screening. On her Facebook page Erin writes her daughter said "…she didn't even take a sip. I feel awful the girls are crying because the officer yelled at me in front of them."
That wasn't how it was supposed to be. Russell Ellis told us this was a family outing, during which their two daughters were having fun with their softball team. He also says he wasn't even there when this happened because he was getting food at the concession stands. Still, he was also charged with misdemeanor contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Both Erin and Russell were allowed to go back to their Moseley home. They are expected back in front of a judge next month.
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