While Here Comes Honey Boo Boo‘s June Shannon initially denied that she has spent time with her ex-boyfriend – convicted sex offender Mark McDaniel, who molested her daughter Anna Marie Cardwell in 2003 – the mom of four has finally fessed up to seeing him.
“I wouldn’t care if it was just her and Mark,” Cardwell, 20, tells PEOPLE. “She’s a grown woman and she can do what she wants, but knowing that kids were around, it’s going to be a whole different story.”
TMZ posted a photo Oct. 26 of Shannon, along with her nine-year-old daughter, Alana “Honey Boo Boo,” and McDaniel on a staircase together.
“Mama says it wasn’t just the three of them – there was other people in the house,” says Cardwell. “But she should have said to Mark, ‘You know you are not supposed to be around any minors.’ She should have said, ‘You need to leave.’ But she didn’t.”
And as a result of the mounting evidence that McDaniel has been in the presence of minors, child welfare authorities will likely investigate. Typically, “when we receive a report that children are living around a sex offender it would certainly rise to the level of concern of us looking into it,” says Susan Boatwright of Georgia Family and Child Services.
“I don’t want the kids taken away from her, I don’t,” says Cardwell. “But, I mean, she did it to herself.”
Just after the news broke that Shannon, 35, was linked to the convicted sex offender, TLC canceled the hit reality series, which centered on the family’s life in McIntyre, Georgia.
“Supporting the health and welfare of these remarkable children is our only priority. TLC is faithfully committed to the children’s ongoing comfort and well being,” the network said in a statement to PEOPLE.
For more on Anna Marie Cardwell’s struggle to protect the children in her family, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday