In connection with a disturbing video that went viral earlier this month showing them frightening young children with a Halloween mask by screaming in the children’s faces because the children were “bad,” five former employees of a Mississippi daycare center were criminally charged this week.
In response to the terror inflicted on the children by a daycare worker at Lil’ Blessings Childcare and Learning Center in Hamilton, Mississippi, the frightened children show crying out “mama” or hiding behind shelving units as the incident was reportedly filmed last month.
The following five employees were charged with felony and misdemeanor, The Monroe County Sheriff’s office announced:
Sierra McCandless, Oci-Anna Kilburn, Jennifer Newman, and Misty Shyenne Mills were each charged with three counts of felony child abuse, the Monroe County Sheriff’s said. Former employee Traci Hutson was charged with failure to report abuse by a mandatory reporter and simple assault, all misdemeanors.
Monroe County Sheriff Kevin Crook said, “It appears to us they were using the mask for behavior modification, They can’t use corporal punishment, so we think they were using the mask to try to scare the kids into doing what they were supposed to be doing.”
The Daily Wire reported that the videos show a worker telling the woman in the mask not to target young children who had “been good” while asking other children.
“Are you being bad? “ the worker in the mask shouts in one child’s face. “Do you need to go outside with me?”
The child hides his face and cries out, “No,” but the masked woman still screams into his face, threatening, “You better be good,“ as the coworker laughs.
Three children hide behind a shelving unit as another masked woman enters as the children cry out. The woman then chases one little boy attempting to run away, screaming at him, “Run! ” and then warns another group of children, “Y’all better be ready.”
In a different video, focusing on one young girl in particular while the others scream in terror, the masked woman screams in front of children who are eating their lunch.
“We opened an investigation to look into it to see if it was a crime and fit one of our state statutes and if so, which one? Earlier this week, we met with all of the families that wanted to meet with us considering possible charges and what those charges might me,” Crook said.
He continued,“After that meeting, we had three sets of parents who decided to go to justice court and file charges on some of the daycare workers, there were some who were certain they wanted to file felony charges, and the only felony charge that this could possibly fit in was felony child abuse under subsection 1-D, and that dealt with improper supervising of the kids and their neglect and possible substantial mental trauma from what they were going through.”
Crook felt great compassion for the children who had been impacted because they were unable to “defend themselves,” he said at the time of the incident. “It made me sick at my stomach to think of the terror those kids were enduring, it still does. My heart and prayers go out to the parents who are dealing with these same emotions right now.”
Watch the video below for more details: