After spending nearly 30 years behind bars for a murder, Jacques Edwards was released from prison in 2010 on parole.
Four years later, Edwards started working with the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) in New York, according to CBS2. He got off parole in 2016.
Now, the 55-year-old convicted murderer is accused of assaulting a 6-year-old boy at the Nicholas Scoppetta Children’s Center in Manhattan, New York City, where he was working, police told Pix11. The alleged attack happened on Monday.
Police told NBC4 that Edwards tried to stuff the young boy into a filing cabinet after he threw the 6-year-old against a door frame.
The suspect carried the boy to the cabinet, police told ABC7, and tried to force the boy’s head inside of it.
The boy suffered cuts on his face but was not seriously injured, according to ABC7. Edwards is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and assault.
But one of Edwards’ cousins, who spoke to The New York Post on the condition of anonymity, said Edwards was acting in self-defense.
“He told me the boy grabbed (Edward’s right arm) and was ripping it off,” the cousin said.
She said Edwards, who has a 4-year-old son, is “good with kids” and “advocates education”after he “turned his life completely around.”
“The nieces and nephews gravitate towards him,” she told The New York Post. “He spins them playing airplane.”
Either way, state officials are now discussing how a convicted murderer was hired to the position in the first place. A spokesperson for the NY Justice Center told Pix11 that it appears Edwards did not undergo the required background checks.
“Justice Center records indicate Jacques Edwards was never submitted for a background check by ACS, as required by law,” the statement reads.
David Hansell, commissioner of the ACS since 2017, told CBS2 that Edwards is no longer working at his job. He said his department needs “higher standards” for the people it employs, and that procedures in place today show that is already happening.
“We believe in second chances, and it is not city policy that a criminal conviction of any kind is a permanent bar to city employment forever,” he said. “... I can tell you that I believe that today, under the protocols that we currently use for hiring, this individual would not have been hired into this position.”
It’s unknown if Edwards’ hire was by accident, the commissioner told ABC7.