5 Mississippi daycare workers charged with child abuse for scaring toddlers while wearing Halloween masks

5 Mississippi daycare workers charged with child abuse for scaring toddlers while wearing Halloween masks
The footage showed the daycare workers wearing Halloween masks running after children and scaring them (Screenshots/NBC News video)

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

MONROE COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI: Five daycare workers in Mississippi have been charged with child abuse after a video surfaced showing one of them wearing a scary Halloween mask and scaring children. Lil' Blessings Childcare workers, Sierra McCandless, Oci-Anna Kilburn, Shyenne Shelton, Jennifer Newman, and Traci Huston, were charged this week. The video shows several daycare workers scaring toddlers. One of the workers can be heard telling the masked person to avoid the children who have "been good," saying "don't get her."

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"The County Prosecuting Attorney and the District Attorney met with the parents of the children involved in the incident at Lil' Blessings Child Care and Learning Center and informed them of the possible criminal charges the law would allow them to pursue," Monroe County Sheriff Kevin Cook said in a statement. "Parents were also given an opportunity to share information they had gathered with MCSO Investigators."

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Newman, Shelton, Kilburn, and McCandless are facing three counts of child abuse for participating in the mayhem. Hutson, on the other hand, is facing two charges for not reporting the abuse. At least a child abuse affidavit was signed but it is unclear how many parents came forward. Sierra McCandless, also known as CeeCee by the children, was the one wearing the mask.

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Earlier this month, McCandless released an apology saying the incident "wasn't meant to harm anybody" or "ill-intentioned". "The teachers asked me if I would do it or if they could use [the mask] to get their class to listen or clean up . . . I'm not a child abuser," McCandless previously said.

"Long story short, I bought the masks to scare her eventually and they were used inappropriately," she said. "But what you all didn't see was after I had left the room, I took it off and I went back into the classroom … and I said 'CeeCee got the monster. It's not coming back.' And they would hug me. I known those kids their whole life." She worked at the facility for four years.

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Another worker, Jennifer Kayla Newman, wrote on Facebook that she made the video not for fun but to expose her co-workers' actions. "A couple of weeks ago some girls at the daycare bought Halloween masks to scare the kids, they did it and I never got it on video. The kids were terrified but I knew if I told the owner, it would be a slap on the wrist for them as I've complained about other things in the past and nothing ever got done. So, when I heard she was going to do it again, I recorded to get the proof and then the video was sent to parents to show them how their child was being treated. I did not video this for shits and giggles. It was not funny to me. I did not get amusement out of this. The one screaming in the kids faces is NOT me. The one standing next to the girl screaming is NOT me. That laughing in the video is NOT me. For the ones who know who I am and what I look like knows that I'm not in the videos. I'm just now getting the proof I needed to help get those people out of that daycare and away from those children. Calling the cops? Wouldn't have done any good. Once the cops go there what was they going to do? Arrest without any proof. The cameras in that daycare do not record so there are was no going back and checking," she wrote.

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"How about y'all go share this post since y'all want to bash me. I have nothing to hide. I did what I thought I was best in that moment. MAYBE, I didn't handle it 100 percent how I should have, but my intentions were good. I did want it to be aware and be taken care of. Say what you want. I know the truth, several people I know personally knows I wouldn't do something like this, and God knows the truth. The truth will always come to light and all the people that have bashed me and sent me death threats see that this WASN'T ME, I hope you feel real bad. Because if it wasn't for me and another coworker, this probably would have happened tomorrow also," she added. 

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