An Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) worker arrested last month for assaulting a 6-year-old boy is a convicted murderer who spent almost two decades in prison.
55-year-old Jacques Edwards is facing assault charges for horrifically shoving a 6-year-old boy head-first into a filing cabinet at the foster care center run by ACS - the Nicolas Scoppetta Children’s Center on First Avenue in Kips Bay. The incident took place on August 2. Edwards was immediately suspended for a month without pay.
Edwards was previously accused of attacking a teenager under his care. He was said to have also often bragged about his past criminal record to co-workers at the ACS.
Edwards was only 18 in 1981 when he was convicted of murder in Brooklyn. He was sentenced to 15 years to life behind bars and released from prison in 2010.
The incident with the teen happened in 2014, within a year after Edwards was hired. He was then accused of throttling a 15-year-old boy at the Crossroads Juvenile Center in Brooklyn where he was first posted.
Sources said that Edwards and the teen were arguing when the ex-con wrapped his hands around the teen's throat. A source revealed: “He was choking the child so badly that a sergeant had to pull him off the kid. They put him on leave and then they placed him in a different facility. Everyone knew there was something wrong with him."
City officials said Edwards disclosed his murder conviction to ACS when he applied for the job and the Department of Citywide, Administrative Services, however, cleared him for employment based on New York Correction Law which prohibits unfair discrimination against people with criminal records. City officials also said that it also helped Edwards’ case that “the murder conviction was more than a decade old” so he was given a chance at employment.
Despite boasting of a criminal past to his co-workers, Edwards managed to keep his job because at 6’3” feet and 225-pound because sources said, “’he filled a desperate hole in ACS as he happened to be a male employee who could keep children in line." It was his being "intimidating” that made him perfect for the job - or so the organization thought.
Officials now realize their lapse in judgment as far as Edwards is concerned. ACS Commissioner David Hansell said: "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. But when it comes to working with children, we have to have stricter scrutiny, we have to have higher standards. And we do."
ACS is poised to fire Edwards this week. Edwards is out on $15,000 bail in the new assault case.