The kindergarten teacher from central Israel accused of mistreating toddlers was charged on Sunday with abuse of at least 11 children under her care. The 25 year old earlier said the surveillance video showing her slapping the children and feeding them their own vomit caught her “on a dark day.”
Carmel Mauda, 25, who owned a private nursery “Baby Love” in the city of Rosh Haayin, was arresred on suspision of child abuse two weeks ago after the police obtained footage of her spanking children with towels, forcing them up against the wall for hours on end, strapping them to chairs and feeding them their own vomit.
The Central District Attorney's Office filed the charges in the Lod District Court against the nursery owner for abusing minors and helpless persons.
According to the 18-count indictment, Mauda squashed the stomach of a toddler with one kidney between a table and a chair and forcefully pulled his head, covered the children with blankets - while sitting on them - in order to prevent them from moving. Used to tie one child’s hands with a wire for hours on end.
Danged the children from side to side by their limbs. Forced them up against the wall for a prolonged period. Spanked them with their own diapers, pinched them and pulled their heads while covering their mouths and noses until they couldn’t breathe. In one incident, a toddler was forced to eat from a plate into which he had vomited.
During her initial interrogation she denied any claims of abuse, saying she was merely “instilling the sense of security in children.” Once she was presented with the video evidence, however, she claimed to have had a “dark day” and behaved “like a Satan.”
In the meantime, Mauda’s home - where the nursery was run - has been burned down on Saturday afternoon in what appears to be an arson attack.
The police arrested an 18-year-old man from the West Bank on suspicion of setting fire to the 25 year old’s property and he’ll be brought before court for a remand hearing sometime on Sunday. The attorney who represents the suspect said the young man denies the allegations.
Mauda's family placed the blame for the incident firmly on the incitement campaign against her conducted via social media. They also blamed the media outlets for contributing to the incitement.
“We understand the parents’ anger and pain, but it (the suspected arson attack) crossed a red line,” said the lawyer representing Mauda. “People took the law into their own hands. The trial against Carmel must be conducted in court … The Israel Police must act in order to stop the threats and attempts to harm the family.”
In addition, at least 50 people demonstrated outside the Neve Tirtza Prison in central Israel, where they believed Mauda was being held. "Let's not forget who the real victims here are," said a father of one of the children abused by the 25 year old when asked about the arson attack.
"They are being transformed into victims, they are not the victims. We are dealing with our children, the fire is less interesting, it’s not a priority at all," he said.