Woman in Trouble for Harboring Teens

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Two teen runaways are safe but the person they stayed with is facing felony charges. Prosecutors say a 24-year-old Overland Park woman should have called police, but she didn't.

Prosecutors charged the woman with contributing to the misconduct of minors. Hiding a minor runaway won't get you into trouble in the short term, but getting guardians and the police involved quickly is key to keeping it that way.

One of the teens is from Overland Park and the other is from Colorado. Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe couldn't go into specifics about the case but did say the month-long investigation was successful.

"Good police work by the Overland Park Police Department, and it resulted in getting both of these minor children back with their guardians," Howe said.

Katharine Forster is charged with two counts of contributing to the misconduct of a minor. Howe could only say the charges fit this case. The Overland Park Police Chief used the case as a jumping off point for his blog on Wednesday.

The law in Kansas says you can get in trouble for lying to a police officer for a runaway or by hiding a runaway with the intent to keep them from being found or picked up by the authorities. The blog also agrees with Howe. Both urge anyone who comes into contact with a runaway to offer a safe haven to follow it up immediately with a phone call.

"SRS and law enforcement know how do deal with that. They are professionals. They deal with us all the time, and you want those individuals involved in that process," he said.

Forster wasn't at home went FOX 4 tried to contact her. Court records show she's applied for the diversion program. If the program is completed it would clear the charges from her record. Howe says she is eligible, but he hasn't decided if he'll allow it.

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