Videos on Facebook show a day care worker wearing a Halloween mask and yelling at children
HAMILTON, MS – Four people linked to viral video footage of Mississippi daycare employees using a scary mask to frighten young children are facing charges of felony child abuse, and a fifth person faces two misdemeanor counts.
The daycare’s owner, Sheila Sanders, is not facing charges. She has said that at least four of the employees were fired after the video came to light.
The videos, one filmed in September and another this month, were posted on social media. They show a daycare worker at Lil’ Blessings Child Care & Learning Center in Hamilton, an unincorporated community in northeast Mississippi, wearing a Halloween mask similar to the one in the “Scream” movies and yelling at children who didn’t “clean up” or “act good.”
Children can be seen bawling, cowering in fear, and at times running from the masked employee. Another employee gives directions, singling out which children have acted good or bad, The Associated Press reported. The employee in the mask is shown screaming inches away from children’s faces, the video showed.
Monroe County Sheriff Kevin Crook said in a news release that four of the women each face three counts of felony child abuse. A fifth woman, he says, faces charges of failure to report abuse by a mandatory reporter and simple assault against a minor — both misdemeanors.
“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,” Crook said.
“It is imperative that we… work to rebuild, innovate, and expand [STD] prevention in the U.S.,” Dr. Leandro Mena, director of the Division of STD Prevention at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a speech Monday at a medical conference on sexually transmitted diseases, the Associated Press reported.
Solutions include home test kits for some STDs that will make it easier for people to learn they are infected and to take steps to prevent spreading it to others, said Mena.
But Dr. Mike Saag, an infectious disease expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said a core part of efforts must be to increase condom use.
“It’s pretty simple. More sexually transmitted infections occur when people are having more unprotected sex,” Saag said.
The monkeypox outbreak has added another layer of concern, because the virus has been spreading largely between men who have sex with men.
Public health organizations and the National Coalition of STD Directors are calling for more federal funding, including $500 million for STD clinics.
Mena suggested reducing stigma, broadening screening and treatment, and supporting the development of at-home testing.
“I envision one day where getting tested [for STDs] can be as simple and as affordable as doing a home pregnancy test,” Mena said.
While syphilis cases dropped sharply with the availability of antibiotics in the 1940s, rates of the infection last year reached their highest since 1991. The total number of cases reached its highest level since 1948.
At one point, infection rates had been so low the CDC planned to work to eliminate the disease, but the agency discarded those plans in 2013 as case numbers continued to grow, the AP reported.
Cases have been rising since 2002, primarily in gay and bisexual men. In 1998, there were only 7,000 new syphilis cases nationwide. By 2021, that number was 52,000, the AP reported.
The rate of cases was 16 per 100,000 people last year, with the highest rates in men who have sex with men and in Black and Hispanic Americans and Native Americans, the AP reported.
Women have typically had a lower rate than men, but it rose 50% last year.
Syphilis causes genital sores. The bacterial infection can lead to severe symptoms and death without treatment.
Congenital syphilis, which passes the infection between a pregnant woman and her baby, can lead to loss of sight, hearing and even death in a newborn. Last year, congenital syphilis cases reached 2,700, including 211 infants who were stillborn or died. That’s a sharp increase from 300 cases annually a decade ago, the AP reported.
Infection rates for gonorrhea have also been increasing for years, while HIV cases were up 16% in 2021, the AP reported.
It is “out of control,” David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, told the AP.
Reasons for the increase range from inadequate funding for testing and prevention to delayed diagnosis during the pandemic. Condom use has also been declining, while drug and alcohol use may have reduced inhibitions. Increases may also be linked to a surge in sexual activity after COVID-19 lockdowns.
Teacher charged with 24 sex crimes after posting TikToks of students, school says
A former Tennessee elementary school teacher is facing two dozen child sex charges including rape after police say she posted inappropriate videos of students to TikTok.
Taylor Cruze, 23, was indicted last week by a grand jury in Smyrna as a result of a police investigation in connection to the felony crimes, Rutherford County Schools spokesperson James Evans told USA TODAY.
Evans said that prior to her arrest last month, Cruze was a first-year fifth-grade teacher at John Colemon Elementary School in Smyrna, about 25 miles southeast of Nashville.
She was suspended without pay May 2, Evans said, and resigned from her job May 22.
Evans did not provide additional details about the case to USA TODAY, including what the TikTok videos contained or when they were posted.
On Aug. 3, court records show, officials issued a warrant for Cruze’s arrest and the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office arrested her Aug. 10.
Cruze is charged with multiple counts of exploitation of a minor under 13 by electronic means, exploitation of a minor by electronic means and especially aggravated sex exploitation of a minor. She also faces charges of solicitation of a minor – rape of a child, and sexual battery by an authority figure.
Court documents show that at the time of her arrest, Cruze lived in Murfreesboro, about 14 miles south of the elementary school.
On Wednesday, Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Lisa Marchesoni told USA TODAY her current address was listed in Knoxville.
A jail spokesperson told USA TODAY Wednesday that Cruze posted a $100,000 bond the same day she was arrested.
Court records show she is due in court on Sept. 28 for a plea hearing.
Evans said the school district is “fully cooperating with law enforcement” as the investigation continues.
File your formal complaint in opposition to Biden’s public school rule proposal
Last year, we tried to stop the U.S. Senate from confirming a radical to President Joe Biden’s Department of Education. Despite our warnings, LGBTQ activist Catherine Lhamon was approved to the Office of Civil Rights and is now driving her agenda to force all public schools in America to allow biological males who identify as female to use the girls’ restroom and locker room.
The Department of Education under Lhamon is now proposing a new rule that will put women’s safety and privacy at risk and deprive women of athletic and professional opportunities. It would do so by radically rewriting Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
TAKE ACTION NOW
If this rule is approved, biological males would be able to:
Openly change in girl’s dressing rooms.
Take college and university scholarships specifically reserved for women.
Use their position to charge schools with discrimination if they feel they aren’t getting enough “playing” time.
File a formal sexual harassment complaint against any female who speaks out against men in women’s sports.
Share hotel rooms with females during overnight trips.
Enjoy physical advantages like greater lung capacity, higher bone density, and greater muscle mass.
Title IX already prohibits discrimination based on sex in any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. It’s enforced by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
The new rule proposed by Biden’s Department of Education will redefine “sex” to include “sex stereotypes, sex-related characteristics (including intersex traits), pregnancy or related conditions, sexual orientation, and gender identity.”
Sincerely, Tim Tim Wildmon, President American Family Association
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