A former New Jersey preschool director has admitted using a knife to threaten two 4-year-olds in her care.
Adetokunbo Akinnaso, 64, once the director of Dawn to Dusk Christian Childcare and Learning Center in Plainfield, pleaded guilty last Wednesday to two counts of fourth-degree child abuse in Superior Court in Union County, according to NJ.com.
Akinnaso admitted to “disciplining” the two children in her care on Feb. 28 — by putting a steak knife into their hands and saying she would cut their fingers off and throw them in the garbage if they kept misbehaving, the website repored, citing authorities and a report by the Department of Children and Families Office of Licensing.
The children weren't injured.
The prosecutor's office has agreed to recommend probation at Akinnaso's sentencing, set for Sept. 28, the website reported.
But Akinnaso’s sentence will ultimately be up to the judge, said Mark Spivey, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office.
As part of the plea, Akinnaso also agreed to have no contact with the victims or their families, and promised to never again seek employment in a position where she would work with children, Spivey said.
Akinnaso was removed from her job immediately after the accusations emerged, a school district official said.
The abuse was uncovered back in March, when an investigator with the state's Department of Children and Families contacted Raymond Moss, of Plainfield, to say that she had been investigating an incident involving his son at the Dawn to Dusk Christian Childcare and Learning Center.
Moss said the investigator told him that a staff member at the preschool witnessed Akinnaso showing a knife to his son, Elijah, and another little boy, when they were in her office for misbehaving on Feb. 28, Moss said.
"She pulled out a knife and put it in his hand and said she'd cut his fingers off if he continued to misbehave," Moss told the website, adding that at first he hoped it was all a mistake, that it was a letter opener instead of a knife.
But it was a knife.
"As soon as I found out I left my job and picked my son up," Moss told NJ.com.
A state report by the Department of Children and Families Office of Licensing, cited by NJ.com, gave even more details: "A named staff member placed a serrated steak knife on 2 children's hands and threatened to cut them off and throw them in the garbage can."
[Photo: Union County Prosecutor’s Office]