Convicted Child Murderer Hired by ACS Accused of Attacking a 6-year-old Boy With a Crowbar
KIPS BAY, MANHATTAN — August 8, 2018
According to the police, an ex-con ACS worker is accused of attacking a little boy in Manhattan, and it is now known that the man had a serious criminal past.
Questions remain on how employee Jacques Edwards, 55 was hired by ACS in the first place after he served 28 years behind bars for second-degree murder.
The incident occurred at the Nicholas Scoppetta Children's Center on 1st Avenue. In the course of hiswork, the man suddenly pushed a 6-year-old boy into an office, closed the door behind him, and then tried to put the child in an iron cabinet, before grabbing a metal crowbar and striking the child on the head several times. The police have not explained what provoked the attack.
The boy was immediately hospitalized, there is still no official word on his condition, but it is known that the boy was not seriously injured.
After the incident, ACS released a statement on the arrest:
"Our top priority is the safety and wellbeing of New York City's children, and as soon as this employee's actions came to our attention we immediately removed him from duty and alerted law enforcement."
Edwards was hired four years ago, and a standard background check should have revealed his conviction. It is unclear who is hired him without a background check or in spite of it.
The ACS representative did not explain whether Edwards was hired by mistake.
Officials at the city agency said they would do a review of other employees to ensure that others with violent criminal records have not been hired to work with children.
The agency’s current hiring rules disqualify applicants with a violent felony conviction from working with children. They also bar hiring people convicted of a felony sex crime or any felony within the previous 10 years.
In 1981 Edwards was arrested and served 28 years in prison for child murder, attempted murder, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of stolen property. He was released in 2010. Neither the Brooklyn district attorney’s office nor the New York Police Department had additional information about the slaying for which Edwards was convicted.
Edwards was arraigned on Monday night in Manhattan Criminal Court on two counts of assault and one count of endangering the welfare of a child. A judge set bail at $15,000.
His wife, Jacqui Pharr-Edwards, said Mr. Edwards had also worked at Crossroads, a juvenile detention center in Brooklyn. She defended his actions on Friday, saying “the situation did not happen as they are reporting it.”
“Mr. Edwards has had some health challenges in the last couple of years,” Ms. Pharr-Edwards said. “He’s a good person. He’s very supportive of his co-workers and his family. This situation does not define who he is. The criminal history that the media is sensationalizing does not define his character. He earned his job fair and square.”