Five Day Care employees from Hamilton were criminally charged with child abuse after a video from earlier this month, showing a daycare employee scaring children with a Halloween mask, surfaced on the internet.
Four of the employees including Sierra McCandless, Oci-Anna Kilburn, Jennifer Newman, and Shyenne Shelton were charged with felony child abuse. While the fifth daycare employee Traci Hutson was charged with simple abuse against a minor and failing to report abuse.
Footage from October 4 shows a Lil’ Blessings Daycare in Hamilton employee wearing a mask as children shout and yell in the background.
The video also displays the employee wearing the mask getting in a child’s face and screaming. The person wearing the mask can be overheard ordering the children to “clean up” and “act good.”
The Day Care owner said that a similar incident was filmed in September, but she was not informed of the incidents until the video surfaced on social media this month.
Monroe County Sheriff Kevin Crook told the Daily Journal, “It appears to us they were using the mask for behaviour 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.”
“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?,” Crook explained to the Daily Journal. “Earlier this week, we met with all of the families that wanted to meet with us considering possible charges and what those charges might be.”
During Thursday’s hearing, McCandless and Kilburn’s bonds were set at $20,000. Newman and Shelton’s bonds are $15,000.