An Iowa mother has been charged with child endangerment after police said she tied up her three children as a “means to control them,” according to the Des Moines Register.
The mom, 38-year-old Jessica Marie Henderson, has bonded out of jail and told an Iowa TV reporter that she did not do it. Instead, she blamed a friend.
“I know what the facts are,” Henderson, of Des Moines, told KCCI in a video interview. “Why would I want to tie my children up?”
Henderson told the TV station that it was a man — who KCCI reported was her friend — who tied the children up while she was in the bathroom. The station reported that man is the same person who took the photos of the kids before the alleged abuse was reported to a school.
“I came out to my kids screaming, so I untied them,” she told KCCI.
The man she is blaming, Alvin Stone, would help Henderson with her three kids — ages 4, 5 and 9 — often, WOI reported.
But when he walked in one day this past March, he said he saw the kids tied up, according to WOI.
“I thought they were playing, but they were actually crying,” he said in a video interview with WOI.
KCCI reported that he demanded the kids be untied, but he didn’t immediately report what he saw, or the photo he took, to authorities.
However, Stone’s pastor advised him it should be reported, WOI reported.
“I told him I needed to bring it to (the school’s) attention,” the Rev. Melvin Ridley said, according to WOI. “There’s no reason for any parent to treat their kids this way. Two wrongs don’t make a right.”
The children’s school and police were notified in August, KCCI reported.
Sgt. Paul Parizek with the Des Moines Police Department said officers were called to River Woods Elementary last week, WHO reported. The principal told officers someone had given the school the photo of Henderson’s three kids, the station reported.
“When you look at this picture, it’s pretty heartbreaking,” Parizek told WOI.
The three children were taken to a hospital with no significant injuries, Parizek said, according to the Register.
Henderson was booked in the Polk County Jail before she bonded out, KCCI reported. She is scheduled to be arraigned on Oct. 22, according to the Register.
The criminal complaint obtained and published online by WHO shows that Henderson was charged with child endangerment — an aggravated misdemeanor.
The complaint says Henderson knowingly acted “in a matter that creates a substantial risk” to three minors.