By Maria Rocha-Buschel
A worker for the Administration for Children’s Services who was previously in prison for murder was arrested at the First Avenue foster care facility last week for allegedly assaulting a six-year-old boy living there.
Police said that Jacques Edwards, 55, picked up the child and carried him to a doorway, forcefully pushing the boy against the door and in effect using the child to open the door. Edwards also allegedly picked up the child and put him into the top drawer of an open metal filing cabinet, reportedly shoving him into the cabinet head first. Police said that the boy had a fresh bruise on his left temple and was treated by a nurse at the facility.
According to the New York Daily News, Edwards was hired by the Administration for Children’s Services four years ago, sources said, and the Post reported that Edwards was arrested by Port Authority police for attempted murder, attempted robbery and criminal use of a weapon in June 1981. He was convicted of second-degree murder, attempted murder, criminal possession of a weapon and possession of stolen property and served time in an upstate prison for 28 years until he was released in 2010.
Commissioner David Hansell said in a statement that the agency has been changing their policies and strengthened their protocols over the last year and a half to improve their hiring standards and prevent someone like Edwards from getting hired as someone who works with children.
“If this person were applying to work with children today, he would not pass our vetting process and would not be put in this role,” Hansell said.
The DA’s office said that Edwards is being held on $15,000 bail, which had not been posted as of Wednesday afternoon, and a temporary order of protection has been issued. Edwards is being held at the Manhattan Detention Complex in Lower Manhattan and his next court date is on Friday.
An attorney for Edwards could not be reached for comment.
In response to the incident, Council Members Keith Powers and Carlina Rivera said oversight of the agency should be “reexamined.”
“The Nicholas Scoppetta Children’s Center should provide quality care and shelter to young people in need,” they said. “While we recognize the difficulty of operating such facilities, the city should reexamine oversight of the facility and others like it throughout the city, so that children and families at the centers and in the surrounding communities feel safe.”