Lapel video reveals new details about young girl's abuse, neglect referrals | KOB 4
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Lapel video reveals new details about young girl's abuse, neglect referrals

Erica Zucco
May 18, 2018 06:27 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Recently released lapel video reveals the lengths an Albuquerque Public Schools teacher says she went to in order to keep one of her students safe, in which she can be heard referring to as one of the worst cases of neglect she'd seen.  

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The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office arrested that student’s father, James Stewart, and accused him of exploiting his own 7-year-old daughter. 

The lapel video shows an Albuquerque Police officer’s view as he sat down with a CYFD investigator and an APS teacher. The teacher called CYFD after she says the 7-year-old came in, dirty from head to toe.

The teacher says she gave her clean clothes and, when throwing the old ones away, saw blood in her underwear. She can be heard telling the officer in the footage that when Teri Stewart, the girl's mother, came to pick her up she asked why her daughter was wearing different clothes.

"And I said, 'Teri, her clothes are soiled from head to toe. She's soiled from head to toe. She is filthy,'" the teacher can be heard saying.

The teacher says she confronted Sanchez about clothes school staff gave the family.

"I asked her, I said, 'Teri, the kids are saying that you’re selling the clothes. What’s the deal? Why is she not wearing a single piece of clean clothing that we’ve given you?' She said they’re all at the hotel. I said, 'Then put them on her!'"

The teacher said Stewart then responded the clothes were dirty and the family didn't have money for laundry.

"I said, 'No, Teri, I’ve washed my own clothes by hand lots of times. You can do the same thing – these are your children,'" the teacher can be heard saying in the footage.

A day later, the girl didn’t come to class, so the school called police and asked for a welfare check on the family.

Officers visited their motel room beforehand, where released lapel camera footage revealed a conversation they had with the young girl. 

"I just want to make sure you're okay and you feel safe here, OK? When did you eat last?" the officer can be heard asking. 

"I ate at school yesterday, and the other day," the 7-year-old responds. 

Soon after, the officer met with the girl's APS teacher, who shared she was worried about the girl after she came to school in bloody underwear. The officer said he didn't know that going into the welfare check, but that he wished he had. 

"It would have helped me," he can be heard saying. "(I'm) back from already talking to this little girl. I had no idea. That was my next step was getting ahold of you guys, getting ahold of them. But it was already in the works."

The teacher then asks them to take the underwear, but the officer questions whether it's a good idea to collect them. The CYFD investigator in the room says, "That's up to you guys. I don't...that ain't my department."

The officer then calls to find out what he should do, and the teacher leaves the room. Then, the following conversation occurs. 

CYFD investigator: "She's a pain in the a**."
Officer: "Is she?"
CYFD: "(inaudible)...to the school, like, numerous times with her. Same family."

Soon after, the lapel video cuts off. 

CYFD Secretary Monique Jacobson, who has already criticized her own department for how the case has been handled in the past, released a statement Friday in response to the video, saying: 

"The teachers in this case went above and beyond in reporting suspected child abuse; they did exactly what we ask of them (and of the general public). This new information is relevant to the personnel investigations we have ongoing.  It will be taken seriously.  Any evidence of dismissive and disrespectful language, regarding abuse allegations, won't be tolerated."

 

Credits

Erica Zucco

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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