Mother accused of leaving kids in hot car says she spent donations to help her children



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PHOENIX — A mother whose children were left alone in her hot car while she went for a job interview denied Wednesday that she recklessly spent thousands of dollars in donations received after the story spread on the Internet.

Shanesha Taylor of Phoenix, who is still unemployed, said she was uneasy about putting most of the money into a trust fund for her children as part of an agreement with prosecutors.

"I am here to make sure their needs are provided for," Taylor said while standing outside Maricopa County Superior Court. "But will I set aside a large amount of money for 16, 18 years that we need to get by today? That's not realistic."

Taylor's trial on child abuse charges had been expected to start Wednesday but a judge rescheduled it for Feb. 24. She previously pleaded not guilty.

Taylor said accusations were not true that she used the donations to buy expensive clothes and purses and finance her boyfriend's rap album.

"I'm not the type of person to go out and finance someone's rap album," Taylor said.

Any money spent has gone to housing, clothes, car payments as well as fast-food outings and birthday parties, Taylor said.

"Yes, I threw them birthday parties because they haven't had birthday parties in years," she said. "I took care of Thanksgiving dinner because my mother couldn't afford to take care of that."

Taylor was arrested March 20 after her young sons were found in her car in Scottsdale. She was then 35.

A website established to process donations indicated she had received more than $114,000 after her tearful mug shot went viral. Taylor, however, said she only received $103,000, and fees and taxes left her with $70,000.

The initial agreement with prosecutors called for her to earmark $60,000 for the trust.

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