THE BAHAMAS Children’s Emergency Hostel. Photo: Donovan McIntosh/Tribune Staff
By FARRAH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
SIX women were charged yesterday with child cruelty in connection with the beating of a number of wards at the Children’s Emergency Hostel.
Last month a surveillance video showing children being beaten in a care home went viral on social media. After the footage became public, a number of employees were “relieved of their duties” pending the outcome of a police investigation.
Yesterday, Eloise Canter, 52, Carmetta Woods, 47, Natasha Pratt, 46, Occonelle Gordon, 25, Sabrina Smith, 61, and Shawn Seymour, 42, appeared before Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt charged with 11 counts of cruelty to children.
The prosecution said the former staff members unlawfully physically abused nine boys and two girls in a way that caused them unnecessary suffering on September 22, 2020.
Seymour is accused of failing to report the abuse of the minors—who all range from ages seven to 11—to the appropriate officials on the day in question.
During the hearing, all of the women denied the allegations and the matter was adjourned for a four-day trial beginning on November 2.
The accused were each granted $9,500 bail in the interim.
Attorney Barry Seymour represents Canter and Smith, while attorneys Ian Cargill and Ryszard Humes represent Pratt and Woods respectively. Gordon and Seymour were not represented by counsel during the arraignment.