No charges being filed over Byne Child Development Center incident
No charges are being brought after a a controversial incident involving alleged child abuse at the Byne Child Development Center.
According to Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards, the conduct in question alluded to on social media by concerned citizens focuses on certain physical contact with several of the children. The contact involved the directing and correcting of those children by an employee. The video footage at the Center on November 2nd depicts children interacting with one another, some engaging in horseplay, and one child dropping food on the floor. The video includes one employee physically directing a child to pick up the food he dropped on the floor, and removing a child from a table setting, and placing her hand on a child’s head to encourage the child to lay down.
District Attorney Edwards said in the release that, “Any and all allegations of crime in our community are taken very seriously by this office, never more so than when they involve the children of our community, who are among the most vulnerable in our society.”
"When the November 2nd incident first came to light on social media, I immediately directed a team of my prosecutors to review the video footage of the incident,” Edwards stated. “They reviewed the video, as did I, to determine if the legal elements of child abuse, as defined by the law, were present. I must consider whether a suspect has criminal intent and then acts upon that intent to determine if a crime was actually committed. This applies to citizens suspected of wrongdoing. We prosecute crimes on behalf of the citizens of Dougherty County and the State of Georgia.”
Edwards went on to report, “The findings of my team were unanimous: After having thoroughly reviewed the facts of the incident and the totality of the circumstances, they did not find criminal intent on the part of the child development employee in question, and neither do I.”
The release from Edwards' office also says that though no criminal activity took place, the employee in question no longer works at the Child Development Center.
Edwards called this incident, “A learning opportunity for all citizens in our community, and when a potential crime is observed, report it to your local law enforcement authorities.” And he concluded, “The District Attorney’s Office of Dougherty County stands ready to prosecute all crimes in our jurisdiction. We owe that to the citizens of our community who have placed their trust in us!”