Childcare worker admits physically assaulting 1-year-old
SINGAPORE (CNA) — A childcare teacher abused a one-year-old boy by hitting him, covering his head with a pillow, throwing him to the ground and slapping him repeatedly.
The boy cried throughout the ordeal and bruises could be seen on him afterwards, prompting his mother to call the police.
The 55-year-old attacker, who cannot be named because it could identify the victim, pleaded guilty on Friday to one count of child abuse, with a second similar charge of similarly abusing the beginning of the month taken into consideration.
The court heard that the offender had been entrusted with the care of young children aged between two and 18 months as part of her job. She was responsible for feeding them, changing their diapers, ensuring their general well-being and leading them in educational activities.
The victim was approximately one year old when the perpetrator assaulted him on December 24, 2019. Between 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m., the teacher physically assaulted him in multiple ways which were caught on video.
She hit him with one hand behind his back at least 14 times, with both hands at least eight times, and swung his legs around at least twice.
She also covered her head with a pillow and pressed her face against a cushion, pushing her head hard.
Other acts include roughly shaking the boy by the arms before pinning him to the ground in a prone position, the court heard, and slapping his cheek seven times in a row.
The boy felt pain and cried throughout the ordeal, the prosecutor said. However, the attacker ignored her cries.
She then realized that a large red spot was forming on the child’s back, and noticed an hour later that the red spot was turning blue.
Realizing the victim’s mother would notice the injury, the teacher tried to deflect her suspicions by texting her asking if the boy had “very sensitive skin”. She apologized for patting the boy to sleep “a little hard” and claimed his skin seemed “to have an outbreak”.
The victim’s mother took him to the hospital in the early hours of the next day. There was a 13cm by 8cm bruise on her back which was diagnosed as a ‘suspected non-accidental injury’.
The nursery school paid for the hospital visit, which cost SGD 139.10, and the victim’s mother filed a police report days later after viewing CCTV footage of the abuse with her husband.
The prosecutor asked for a year in prison, while defense attorney Azri Imran Tan of IRB Law asked for half that sentence. Tan said “there is no good explanation” for what her client did, and “she does not intend to give one as she finds her own actions inexplicable”. He said his actions were “an aberration and completely out of character”, adding that his client “cares deeply about all the children she has worked with…and is proud to have a good relationship with the children whose she is in charge, as well as Their parents”.
She wrote a letter of apology to the court and hoped that the victim and her family could forgive her, the lawyer said. He said his client had no previous convictions and had a solid record as a preschool teacher. She adores children and many of her former students and their parents continue to recognize her and keep in touch with her, he said.
The lawyer said his client would be punished “not only by imprisonment”, but by “guilt, ignominy and shame for her actions”.
“Also, given her passion for teaching and children, it will be a bitter pill for (her) to swallow as it is unlikely that she will ever be able to teach children under the age of 18 again. preschool, following this belief,” he said.
She will return to court in March for sentencing.