Baby is first born in Mesa County jail

Mother is sex offender, has five other children

The inmate who gave birth Wednesday morning in Mesa County Jail is a convicted sex offender and now a mother of six children, and she does not have custody of any of them.

The childbirth is believed by Mesa County Sheriff’s Department officials to be the first in the jail.

After the baby was delivered, Shawna Cross, 31, and her baby were rushed from her cell to St. Mary’s Hospital.

“Two deputies delivered the baby,” said Heather Benjamin, Mesa County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman. “Those two (female) deputies responded immediately to her cell, which is literally steps away, and by the time they got into the cell the baby was coming out.”

Cross was jailed March 11 on suspicion of a probation violation, and she did not post bond, which was set at $10,000, Benjamin said. The Sheriff’s Department declined to reveal specifics about the probation violation.

Cross was arrested by the Fruita Police Department on March 5, 2003, for sexual assault on a child less than 15 years old. She was arrested again March 13, 2003, for the same offense by the Grand Junction Police Department, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

According to previously published articles in The Daily Sentinel, Cross was convicted of having sexual relations with a 14-year-old boy. She was sentenced to 10 years to life on probation, 90 days in a work-release program and 160 hours of community service.

St. Mary’s Hospital said Wednesday that Cross was not listed in its registry, so The Daily Sentinel could not contact her there for an interview.

Her husband, Floyd Cross Jr., said although he and Shawna Cross have not seen each other for a year, they are still married and have been for 11 years. Together they had five children.

One of the children now lives in Washington state with Shawna’s mother. The other four live locally with Floyd’s mother, he said.

Floyd Cross said the child born in jail is not his.

Cross said he and his father kicked Shawna out of his home a year ago because of her erratic behavior.

Luella Cross, who is related to Shawna by marriage, has a different view.

“I feel that she has had a very, very unfair life,” Luella Cross said, adding Shawna has been taken advantage of by the courts and the 14-year-old boy she was convicted of having relations with.

“That poor girl has done nothing except get tortured since all this took place,” said Luella Cross, referring to Shawna’s trial and conviction. “They are going to torture her until either she commits suicide or she is in prison.”

Floyd Cross Sr. said he has no sympathy for Shawna, but that a jail cell was an inappropriate place to give birth.

“It is really messed up. It is a hair-puller, I tell ya,” Floyd Cross Sr. said. “Undoubtedly social services will take the baby. We have no claim to the baby.”

Floyd Cross Jr. said the child deserved a better environment to come into the world.

“I don’t think they should have a kid in jail. That is not the place to have a kid,” he said. “They need to be in a good place to have a kid. Look at all the infections a kid can get (in jail).”


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