A daycare worker is being accused of using a 7-year-old boy as a punching bag for her daughter to practice her self-defense skills, reports the Miami Herald.
The boy’s mother filed charges against the childcare employee with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and told detectives her son was hit multiple times by another child while Martha Balmaseda Marrero held her son’s arms behind his back.
The mother said two other children witnessed the incident that was also captured on video. As it turns out, the girl that hit the 7-year-old boy happens to be the woman’s 4-year-old daughter.
The 31-year-old childcare provider reportedly told police that she never intended to hurt the child in her care. She was later arrested for the March 1 incident that took at St. Justin Martyr Catholic Church daycare in Key Largo, Florida.
Police watched the footage that was provided by the church and charged Balmaseda Marrero with a misdemeanor battery. In a notarized statement, she wrote:
So, I told this girl to defense (sic) herself. I hold the kid just to protect the girl, never with the intention of the boy to get hurt.
Luckily, the child was not seriously injured, but Marrero was fired and reported to the Florida Department of Children and Families before she was arrested.
Detective Josh Brady wrote in his report after watching the disturbing video:
Balmaseda Marrero can then be seen holding the arms of the 7-year-old boy behind his back while a little girl, the 4-year-old, walks up to Balmaseda Marrero. Balmaseda Marrero speaks to the girl. The girl then hits the boy. It is unclear in the video if the boy was struck in the face or torso.
Balmaseda Marrero was released shortly after her arrest on a $5,000 bond.
St. Justin Martyr Catholic Church has not commented on the incident. Currently, the daycare has a nearly five-star rating on Facebook.
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Tiffani is a writer for Dearly. She is from New York City. Prior to working for Dearly she covered fashion news and managed social media for various digital media outlets.