Child caregiver charged with assaulting 16-month-old at NJ learning center

A child caregiver in northwest New Jersey has been charged with assaulting a 16-month-old girl, authorities said Wednesday.

Christina Susco, 38, of Mount Olive Township, is accused of assaulting the young victim on March 25, the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office said in a news release.

While the prosecutor’s office declined to release any details about the assault, citing the ongoing investigation, Mount Olive Township Police said Susco has admitted to “unintentionally” injuring the child, according to an affidavit obtained by the Morristown Daily Record.

The girl was taken to Morristown Medical Center where she was treated for a fractured skull, the affidavit states.

According to the prosecutor’s office, Susco was a teacher at Mount Olive Child Care and Learning Center at the time of the incident. Her employment has since been terminated, according to Gail Reuther, the facility’s executive director.

“We took immediate action to ensure consistent safety and care for all the children in the center,” Reuther told the Daily News Wednesday. “This is an isolated and distressing incident, and we are shocked and embarrassed that this occurred at our center, which has a 47-year history of service to the community and quality services to the children and families.”

Susco was arrested earlier this week following a six-week investigation and charged with second-degree endangering the welfare of a child and third-degree aggravated assault.

She was released from the Morris County Correctional Facility on Tuesday pending future court appearances and “on a series of non-monetary bail conditions,” including staying away from the facility, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Per the affidavit, the investigation included a review of a video in which Susco is seen interacting with a young girl.

One investigator saw Susco in the footage engaging “in a motion consistent with placing [the child] on the ground.” After that, the investigator saw the child’s feet flailing close to the ground. The girl then “sat on the ground, placed both of her hands on the side of her head and appeared to continue to cry.”

She was then taken to the hospital.

According to a bio on the center’s website, Susco worked “primarily in the restaurant and catering business for several years,” but decided to move into childcare because she “needed more time to spend with [her] three children.”

“I love to be around children of all ages, but I especially enjoy being with infants and helping them to learn: to nurture their growing minds,” she wrote.