Two former employees of a Cranford daycare center are accused of instigating and encouraging fights among a group of children there last month, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Tuesday.
Erica Kenny, 22, of Cranford and Chanese White, 28, of Roselle both are charged with fourth-degree child abuse, and Kenny additionally is charged with third-degree endangering the welfare of a child. White and Kenny were charged via summons last Friday and Monday, respectively, and are expected to appear in court for first appearances this Friday.
An investigation by the Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Victims Unit recently revealed that the defendants instigated fights among children ages 4-6 at the Lightbridg0e Academy on South Avenue East in Cranford on at least one day in mid-August, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Sheets, who is prosecuting the case.
Kenny is further accused of recording video of the fights with her cell phone and sharing the video clips with several friends on social media via the Snapchat app, Sheets said. In the video clips, Kenny can be heard referencing the activity as “Fight Club,” quoting from the book and movie of the same name in encouraging the children to engage each other physically. Approximately a dozen boys and girls at the daycare center can be seen in the video clips shoving each other to the ground and attempting to strike each other.
The children involved in the fights are not believed to have suffered any serious injuries. However, the investigation into this matter remains ongoing, and anyone with information is being urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Detective Joanne Son at 908-527-4696.
Convictions on third-degree criminal charges can result in sentences of 3 to 5 years in state prison. Fourth-degree crimes are punishable by up to 18 months in prison.
These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.