Miami Herald
Posted at 12:14 p.m. EST Thursday, March 16, 2000

Fla. Children & Families worker charged with abuse of her own child

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- (AP) -- A Department of Children & Families employee was arrested on a child abuse charge after her 11-year-old son was found walking a street, bound with duct tape, his body covered with welts.

Emma Jean, 57, a DCF screener in Daytona Beach, was charged with aggravated child abuse Wednesday and was being held without bond today.

A Bethune-Cookman student noticed the boy walking around a city street Wednesday afternoon and stopped him to ask if he needed help. The college student took the boy to a nearby church where a church staffer called police and removed duct tape from around the boy's hand and neck.

Police officers at the church said the boy had multiple welts on his back, arms, legs and head.

He was treated at the scene, then taken to Halifax Medical Center where a closer examination revealed more than a dozen raised welts, each 5 to 8 inches in length along the boy's arms, back and legs.

The boy was listed in stable condition at the hospital.

Jean told police she picked up her son Wednesday afternoon at Hurst Elementary School in Holly Hill, where, she said, the school's principal told her that her son had been ``acting out'' earlier in the day.

When they arrived home, Jean bound the boy's hands together in front to prevent him from covering his buttocks, police said. She also put tape around his mouth and neck.

She then went to the back yard to pick out a switch. When she returned to the house, she beat him on his back, arms, shoulders and right leg, police said.

Jean's 5-year-old grandson, who lived in the home, was taken into protective custody but later released to his father.

Copyright 2000 Miami Herald