Ex-con Children's Services worker accused of slamming boy, 6

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Jacques Edwards

Four years ago, New York City's Administration for Children's Services hired a convicted murderer to be a youth counselor helping foster children.

Now that counselor, Jacques Edwards, 55, is accused of pushing a boy, 6, up against a door and shoving his head into a filing cabinet at a foster care center in Manhattan, according to police.

The boy suffered a cut to his left temple and was treated by a nurse at the Nicholas Scoppetta Children's Center in Kips Bay on Friday. The incident was reportedly captured on video.

Police arrested Edwards on Monday and charged him with two counts of felony assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

The New York Times reported that Edwards served 28 years in prison for second-degree murder after his sentencing in 1981. Records indicate he was released in 2010 and was on parole until 2016.

ACS Commissioner David Hansell told reporters on Monday that he visited the boy, who is "happy" and "doing fine" and was playing video games.

"We believe in second chances and it is not city policy that any criminal conviction is a bar to any kind of city employment forever but when it comes to working with children we have to have stricter scrutiny, we have to have higher standards and we do," Hansell said. "Today, under the current protocols that we currently use for hiring, this individual would not have been hired into this position."

The commissioner said ACS staff will review the records of other employees now working in the agency hired before the new protocols kicked in.

He said ACS uses guidelines of the state's Justice Center, which permanently bar employment if an individual has a prior conviction of a sexual offense or violence against children. However, Hansell said the guidelines bar employment if a person's violent felony conviction occurred in the previous 10 years.

Jacqui Pharr-Edwards said her husband is a good person and his criminal history "does not define his character."

With the Associated Press