A Florida Keys daycare worker was arrested on a battery charge Friday after police say she held a 7-year-old boy’s arms behind his back and allowed another child, her daughter, to hit him.
The incident happened March 1 at St. Justin Martyr Catholic Church’s daycare in Key Largo. The worker, Martha Balmaseda Marrero, 31, was fired shortly after it happened. The church reported the incident to the Florida Department of Children and Families, said Adam Linhardt, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.
The boy’s mother told detectives she wished to press charges. Police watched a video of the incident that the church provided.
In it, Balmaseda Marrero is seen separating the two children and then talking to both of them for about 10 seconds, Linhardt said. She then holds the boy’s hands behind his back, and the other child, a 4-year-old girl, strikes him either in the face or the torso.
“It was later discovered the girl who hit [the boy] was Balmaseda’s daughter,” Detective Josh Brady wrote in his report.
In a notorized statement that was included in Brady’s arrest report, Balmaseda Marrero wrote she held the boy to teach the girl how to protect herself.
“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,” Balmaseda Marrero wrote.
The boy was not seriously injured, Linhardt said.
Balmaseda Marrero, who could not be reached for comment, was arrested Friday morning on misdemeanor battery and released later in the day on $5,000 bond.