Lakeville Dad Guilty Of Abandoning Son

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Lakeville, Minn. father has been found guilty of abandoning his 11-year-old son.

Steven Cross, 60, broke down after being convicted of one count of gross misdemeanor child neglect.

Cross was accused of leaving his son on July 18, after their home was lost in foreclosure. He left behind letters telling the boy, Sebastian Cross, to go to a neighbor’s home and ask if they would become his legal guardian.

The letter reads, in part: “To my son: If this paper is wet, it’s because I am crying so bad. You know your dad loves you more than anything. This economy got (illegible) there are no jobs for architects so I have to go because the sheriff will take the house July 27. There will be no more me … Some good news is your mother is still alive. Though I do not think it is for the best.”

The letter goes on to give the child instructions about taking his PlayStation and other electronics to the neighbor’s house.

When Sebastian arrived at the neighbor’s home, in tears with the letters, the woman called police.

Since he left last July, Cross has not seen or spoken to his son.

During his five weeks he was missing, he never called Sabastian. Since he returned, authorities have barred him from contacting the 11 year old who is living with his great aunt in foster care.

After the verdict, a sobbing Cross said he fears the guilty verdict will mean it will be harder for him to regain custody or even see his son.

“I wasn’t thinking about myself in any way shape at all,” said Cross. “I was just thinking about my son, and this is awful.”

Cross said when he left his son he was desperate and depressed that he was about to lose his Lakeville home to foreclosure.

“I just wouldn’t wish it would happen to me — going through foreclosure. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody and I love my son to death,” said Cross.

Cross had raised his son as a single parent after the boy’s mother’s rights were terminated. He says he will keep fighting to get him back

“I am going to keep trying. I’m not going to give up,” said Cross.

Cross’s attorney, John Price, said his client is a good man who left detailed instructions with neighbors on how to care for the boy.

“He made arrangements for his son. His world was crashing down. He had nowhere to go,” said Cross.

However, County Attorney Jim Backstrom said considering what he did to his son, Cross deserves to be punished.

“(Sabastian) wakes up in the morning and finds a note from his father saying he was gone, apparently forever — not to return. You can imagine the emotional trauma that young boy was going through,” said Backstrom.

Authorities arrested Cross on Aug. 29 in California. Sebastian is now living in foster care with his aunt.

Cross’ sentencing date has been set for March 20.

More from Esme Murphy
  • Sean Kelly


  • Tina

    This fella has deeper problems than no job……he sincerely needs help! I hope the judge in this case can see that. He was obviously desparate! On the other hand, where did the money to go to California come from????

    • Anita Ride

      ….and back to driving that MTC bus for you.

    • Red

      Good Question- perhaps the Girlfriend

    • K.

      I read that he went to California. Where does it say that he was “hanging out with his ex?”

      • Red

        Just sayin

  • Mr. Obvious

    What the helll are you supposed to do if you cant take care of your kid or kids any longer?

    • Mary Payson

      hmm,Lets list the options,1) Let relatives know you cant provide for your child and ask if one of them would be willing to take them in,2) Foreclosure doesn’t mean you give up,move to a place that you can afford,3) If all else fails,turn your child over to social services,don’t just leave a letter and run away.

  • George

    He is 60 and has an 11 yo son? What a late bloomer and a loser.

  • X-Puffer

    Bad decisions made under duress.
    Sad story

    • trinalouise

      Well said., X-Puffer. Sad on every level. If my tax dollars are paying for this man’s incarceration. I object. Just like the pro-lifers can object to my tax dollar paying for the abortion of a single young adult woman who didn’t want to get pregnant and has no way to support the little one deciding to terminate her pregnancy.

  • just sayin

    60 and a kid my god…. I know someone else like this and it is creepy.
    But men never lose fertility. Only women do! Duh!

    Second off – why was it so much faster to convict this guy compared to Amy Senser! Fry her already!

    • Newt

      Are you really stupid or just trying to be funny? “Duh?” Amy has been CHARGED with a crime and is released on bail pending her trial. Just like everyone charged with a crime in America. Why are you willing to “fry” Amy when you haven’t seen the victim’s toxicology results and there are no eye witnesses to this alleged “crime”? Wow..”.just sayin..” …As a taxpayer who might someday end up paying for your jury stipend,…..please let the Court know you’re ignorant and have your mind made up based upon biased media reports, k? Thanks!

    • ez

      What a stupid question. He was convicted of a gross misdemeanor, Amy was charged with a felony. Big difference there.

  • Sharon

    Oh my gosh how heartbreaking for this poor boy, I can only imagine his sorrow when he found the letter from his Dad! Poor thing, I sure hope he has a good home with his Aunt and can grow up to be a responsible father.

    Not sticking up for this particular heartless man, but why does his age matter? There are plenty of normal men his age with children, that’s just a very rude comment.

  • marilyn.ries

    I feel sorry for both Dad and child and I’m sure dad was very depressed, my daughter shot herself when she felt so alone and no job, my heart goes out to both!!

  • cloudynik

    Obviously this man was desperate, & probably depressed as well, if he saw no other options that this. Sometimes even good people make very bad decisions. I agree with the other poster, hopefully the judge seek help for the man, not just throw him in prison. As for the poster who said this boy should be ‘turned over to Social Services’- are you a complete moron? The Foster system is the *last* place this poor kid should end up. He’d have been better off on the streets than there.

    • Ellen

      he is in the system he is a foster child at his aunts house. when a child is pulled they try and find a family member to take the child first for 2 reasons, it is cheaper and they usually know them. my parents have been doing foster care for for over 20 years i know this stuff all to well.

    • do the math

      The guy might be desperate and depressed, but he is still an incompetent father. You can give him every mental health excuse under the sun, but the fact still remains…if he can’t care for his son then he can’t care for his son. He is an unfit father whether he has a legit excuse or not. You must be familiar with the foster system to make such a stupid comment. I’m guessing you weren’t a social worker, a gal, or a foster parent. I’m guessing you were a child of the system. Let me make another guess… Rather then blame the bioparents who hurt you in the first place or blame yourself for your own actions, you are going to blame the foster system that despite their best efforst wasn’t able to give you everything you dreamed they should. I’m not saying there aren’t a lot of bad foster homes, but there are a lot of good foster homes, too. Just remember that without terrible bioparents we wouldn’t have foster homes…good or bad.

  • Research

    As an architecture, you have to be smart. This guy could easily land a job to support him and his kid above poverty level for the time being. Can I borrow some sugar..yes. Can I borrow your lawnmower…yes. Will you take care of my kid for 7 years…uhmm what

    • Laura

      “As an architecture”?? REALLY? PLease tell me you haven’t reproduced and have been permantly sterilized. Promise? Ummm…what/

  • aronamis

    not all architects have common sense ! Move to California and take a job in a deli , and abandon your kid . Common sense is not at work here !!

    • OhObamaWhereUatIneed help

      Common sense? How about depression, worry, heart-ache and resulting mental illness without a spouse or made to share with. What’s wrong with you people? How about neighbors? Anyone talking with them or checking in to see how single, unemployed dad & son are faring? How about you self-righteous anonymous responders, check in on your neighbors recently? How they all faring? You willing to step up? God bless this man for not injuring himself or his beloved child at his worst low & let’s hope they can repair their relationship at some point. I’m sure they’ll both want to once this fades away. Let’s look out for each other, eh? Employment and financial woes suck & bring even the best of folks to their worst.

      • jackactionhero

        Sorry, but no matter how bad the job market was, I wouldn’t leave my son with a note telling him I was leaving him forever.

        There is nothing that would make me do it. There is no mental illness here. This is someone who had options and chose the worst of them.

        You’re actually giving him credit for not offing himself and his kid? I mean wow…

        • Mayhem


          na, some people hang out on forums and make stupid, hypocritcal remarks about other commenters….ain’t that right, jackarse?!?!?!

          “There is no mental illness here” ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha, youre too funny!

          I mean wow dude….just….wow dude….I mean, wow dude

      • ohobamawhereuatIneedhelp

        “mate” to share with above….sorry

  • World ruiner

    Bush’s fault.

  • v

    And I bet all you perfectionists and know-it-all’s spew these ideals when sitting in church on Sunday. You all sound like a bunch Monday morning hypocrites. This is a sad and sorry tale. Not everyone has the wherewithal to know how to do EXACTLY the right thing. You people don’t believe he loves his son? You don’t think he felt as low as low can get? His actions may have been misguided, but his intentions were to create a positive and functioning environment for his son. He felt the path he was on would hurt his boy.
    Don’t hate on him. What good does that do? A little compassion is needed here, not criticism. I feel bad for all involved here. I hope there’s a silver lining for them down the road.

  • PJO

    My sympathy level for this guy is 0. There is no excuse for what he did, none. This guy doesn’t deserve this son back!

  • Ellen

    you people are upset with this case? what about all of the other cases that are out there. this really isn’t anything compared to what i have seen in the 20+ years that i have seen through the kids going through my parents home. and the said part is that this person might get sent away because of the media hype, but i have seen kids pulled for parents making child porn and taking pic for trade and parents strung out on drugs and they get their kids back because they make a plea bargain. this guy tried and didn’t want his son to see him fail and you throw him under the wheel. he wanted his son to have a place to stay instead of become homeless, what an horrible parent to want a roof over your kids head. throw him in prison, come on people don’t be so blind. his choice wasn’t the brightest but he was under pressure and thought that what he was doing was the best. can you imagine how hard of a choice that must have been for him.

    • jackactionhero

      He tried?

      No. He left. Trying would mean he would have tried to keep his family together. He chose to go it alone and leave his son for dead.

      How hard of a choice? LOL

      Do you have kids? How “hard of a choice” would it be for you to abandon them?

      • Ellen

        leave his son for dead? he left him in the hands of his neighbors, and by the sounds of it they don’t seem like evil people that would have killed him.
        i have 2 kids and it would be very hard to leave them, however if leaving them would give them a roof over their heads that i wouldn’t be able to do or if i knew that i wasn’t a good parent that could raise them in a safe environment i hope i would have the brains enough to find a safe spot for them. would it be hard yes but if it keeps them alive and safe. and i hope that i never have to get into that type of situation. but at least i know that if i did my parents are foster parents as well as my sister and her family so i would know where they were and that they were being cared for.

  • Branden

    This is absolutely ridiculous. You see cases like this when a parent is going through hard times & thinks there is no solution. But many times the child or children end up dead. This father did what he truely thought was the best & safest for his son. And I agree. I can’t believe some of the cruel & heartless comments I am reading on here. Let’s play pretend & change the outcome to this story. This guy is so depressed that, instead of telling his son where to go to be safe, he kills him. Would you people rather be reading a news story with that outcome? Then you could say he is a bad father. This guy probably does need help & I hope he gets it. I hope he gets what he needs & someday can possibly get his son back. He’s not a bad father. He made a bad decision.
    And to the people calling him “creepy” & a “loser” for being 60 with a kid – are you kidding me? Imagine that, a man can still produce sperm at 49 years old. Who woulda thunk it? I guess its news to all you men out there that had a child in your late 40s(or later) that you’re all “creepy” & “losers”.

    • jackactionhero

      Another idiot giving the guy props for not blowing his kid’s brains out. Way to set the expectations for a dad as low as humanly possible, eh? LOL

      • Mayhem

        well, we try not to set the expectations any higher than yours, jackarse.

        wow, man dude….just wow…man, dude…..I mean wow man dude

      • Branden

        Setting expectations as low as humanly possible are for the father who DID blow his kids brains out.
        Everybody on here needs to realize that jackactionhero is a guy who lives a fairytale life with absolutely no problems. He can sit on this forum and make hypocritical comments about what he would never do. Well you know what, until you’re in a situation you have no idea what you would do.
        BTW, anybody who puts ‘actionhero’ after their name obviously has an outrageously huge ego. Come on, man. Get over yourself.

    • Skaperen

      I don’t know the full scope of problems this man has or had, but it seems clear to me that it was best for his son to NOT be hanging around his father for a while until he (the father) chills out, settles down, and gets his life in order. So as I see it, the father did the right thing. Backstrom is obviously just trying to get points for locking up more people for the next election. I do think a judge needs to determine if restoring custody is appropriate. But these charges are just so bogus.

  • Michele

    I get that the system doesn’t have a lot of heart for men. It sucks.

    But … oh, BTW, your mother is alive? WHAT?

    This man feeds on drama. He’s a control freak. I don’t think jail is an answer (hey, I don’t want to pay for it!), but this kid deserves a little stability.

    • Ellen

      maybe not know about his mom was to keep him safe. maybe the mom walked out on them and wanted nothing to do with them or had a drug problem. you don’t know. she may have wanted the boy to think that she was dead so that he wouldn’t have hopes of her coming back home.

  • Willow

    Just because you are going through hard times doesn’t mean you abandon your kid(s). You get help. There are government & charitable organizations who would have helped him, even if he felt like he couldn’t go to his remaining relatives. It’s not like a person can’t search on Google at a library. There are many housing charities and the like who help people going through foreclosure.

    • Ellen

      i know a guy who’s ex had custody of their 2 kids and she got wrapped up in drugs and taken out, well he get a good job down in the cities and lives in a 1 room apartment and do you know what the wonderful system told him. if you want help quit your job, as a supervisor, move back here and live in a homeless shelter and we will see what we can do for you from there.
      wonderful advice if you ask me.

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    […] a new stadium in the Twin Cities, even if it means building on the current site of the Metrodome.Lakeville Dad Guilty Of Abandoning SonA Lakeville, Minn. father charged with child neglect for allegedly abandoning his 11-year-old son […]

  • Lyn

    I knew Steve and his very successful ex-wife years ago. Back then steve was an extremely hot and upcoming architect. Steve, what the hell happened?

  • Man Agrees To Joint Custody After Abandoning His Son « CBS Minnesota

    […] A jury convicted Cross of gross misdemeanor child neglect in January. Share this 1 comment // […]

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