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Church daycare worker charged with child abuse

Editor’s Note: Baptist Press will continue to report every instance of abuse related to Southern Baptist churches or leaders of which we are made aware.

AIKEN, S.C. (BP) – A South Carolina woman has been charged with child abuse after an incident at Town Creek Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist congregation.

According to WRDW news, arrest records show Amanda Grace Jeffery grabbed three 1-year-old victims by the arm and carried them across a room.

The church’s pastor, Clint Smith, confirmed to Baptist Press that the incident happened Sept. 28 at the church’s daycare, Town Creek Christian Academy Preschool.

“We are broken by this news and are asking our brothers and sisters for prayer,” Smith said in an email to Baptist Press. “The physical and spiritual health of our children are top priorities at Town Creek.”

Smith said the church employs 40-plus people, including those at the preschool, where Jeffery worked.

He added that she was terminated the day of the incident, after local police investigated and that church leaders addressed the church’s members as well as the academy’s students and faculty “with clarity and heavy hearts.”

Among other charges, Jeffery was charged Saturday (Oct. 2) with three counts of unlawful neglect of a child or helpless person. She received a bond on each count totaling to $6,000, WRDW reported.

“Parents and Guardians trust us with their children’s care, some for 40+ hours per week,” Smith said in the email. “We care for them, pray for them, protect them, and love them within the abilities we humanly have.

“We are accountable spiritually to God and professionally to the South Carolina Department of Social Services. All daycare employees go through the State of South Carolina Department of Social Services background check. The TCCA/P workers have regular mandatory training. This is the first time in our five-year existence of our daycare that we have had to exercise our mandatory reporting to the police.

“While we love and care for all of our employees, we will not tolerate inappropriate and unlawful behavior. We ask our brothers and sisters to please be in prayer for Town Creek, for each other, for our families, for our children, for our faculty and staff, and for our former employee.”

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