Charges against a former day care worker from Oxon Hill, Maryland, who was seen on video abusing kids at her facility, have been reduced; but she will remain behind bars as her case continues.
In the video, which was posted in April and soon went viral, Kayla Greenwell, 23, is seen kicking a chair out from under a child, who was 3 years old at the time, and also kicking another young child around a napping area.
Greenwell is now facing three charges of second-degree assault, and she is no longer facing two counts of second-degree child abuse in the case. For the felony charges to move forward, prosecutors would have had to prove Greenwell’s actions caused injuries to the children.
“There’s an additional threshold for injury,” said Assistant Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Ashley Elias, who is prosecuting the case. “These children were 3 years old and were unable to articulate on their own any additional injury other than the obvious injuries we see in the videos.”
During the bond review hearing Tuesday, Greenwell’s attorney Max Frizalone asked the judge to release Greenwell into the custody of relatives, arguing she had an aunt in Largo, who could keep Greenwell away from children as she awaits trial.
Denise Deal, Greenwell’s mother, also addressed the court, sobbing as she asked the judge to let Greenwell out of jail.
Deal admitted what was on the video “didn’t look right to me,” but she also argued what was seen on the video wasn’t a true reflection of her daughter.
“I don’t know what it was,” she said, after admitting that it was “very, very wrong.”
Frizalone also suggested that what Greenwell was seen doing inside the now-shuttered Oxon Hill Early Learning Center was indicative of the culture there, and not the only reason why the facility is no longer open.
That assertion didn’t go very far in court.
“To suggest that somehow her actions were somehow less of an issue because other people might have been doing it — which, again, we don’t have any evidence of at this point — just that whole rationale is clearly flawed,” said Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy. “Everyone is responsible for their own criminal actions.”
In issuing his ruling on the bond request, Judge Darren Johnson described what was seen in the video as “predatory violence,” asking whether it was “safe” to put Greenwell out in the community.
Ultimately, Johnson said it “would not be in the best interest of the community” to release Greenwell on bond.
“She preyed on the most vulnerable of our community, the children,” said Elias, the prosecutor in the case. “The victims were 3 years old. We would argue she’s a danger to the children of Prince George’s County. I believe if you’re a danger to children, you’re a danger to the community.”
Each assault charge Greenwell is facing comes with a 10-year prison sentence if she’s found guilty. No trial date has been set yet.
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