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Childcare Worker Faces Charge For Alleged Abuse

                Norma Pullen

WATER VALLEY – A Water Valley woman faces a misdemeanor charge of simple assault after allegedly injuring a two-year old child at Cotten Candy Daycare on Frostland Drive. Norma Jean Pullen, age 55, was indicted by a grand jury in the Second Judicial District on April 18.  Pullen was served with the indictment on April 24 at the daycare, where she is employed. She was booked in the Yalobusha County Detention Center and released on bond. 

According to the indictment, the incident occurred on Dec. 11 when Pullen grabbed the child and carried her into the bathroom, where she suffered facial injuries. The ordeal sparked public scrutiny last month after footage from a camera at the daycare was posted on Facebook by the child’s mother. The video showed the child being grabbed by Pullen and taken into the bathroom.

Assistant District Attorney Steve Jubera told the Herald the grand jury had the option to indict Pullen on a misdemeanor or felony charge.

“They decided to go with the misdemeanor,” Jubera said about the indictment, adding that typically misdemeanors are presented in the lower court. “Due to the totality of this case, I decided to present this myself,” the assistant district attorney explained.  He also said the district attorney’s office is continuing to monitor this situation and “any other allegations regarding Cotten Candy Daycare and this particular worker.”

Jubera reported that the Water Valley Police Department handled the investigation on the law enforcement side of the case. He also said the Department of Health is conducting their own investigation, independent of the criminal case.

“We are going to cooperate with them in any way that is appropriate,” he added. 

Jubera also cited coordination with a multidisciplinary team that includes law enforcement, the district attorney’s office and Child Protective Service as being instrumental in prosecuting the case.

“We meet monthly and evaluate all incidents that involve child abuse,” Jubera explained about the multidisciplinary team. “The goal is to do what is in the very best interest of the child. All of these cases are being evaluated by the team in order to move the process along.”

The childcare center is owned by Yalobusha Health Services. A statement of the entity’s Facebook page last month stated that the incident was reported to the Mississippi State Department of Health.

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