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Former Tennessee 911 Dispatcher Faces Multiple Counts of Child Abuse, Neglect And Endangerment

Kirsten Jenkins, a former 911 dispatcher in Washington County, Tennessee, has been charged with multiple counts of abusing a child under the age of eight.

By Constance Johnson
Tragic and Disturbing Cases of Child Abuse

A Tennessee woman who was until recently a 911 dispatcher has been charged with four counts of aggravated child abuse, endangerment and neglect.

Kirsten Michelle Jenkins, 26, joined the Washington County 911 dispatch staff full-time in January 2022 after sporadically working for the office part-time, director Greg Matherly told Johnson City ABC/CBS affiliate WJHL. Washington County is in the northeast portion of the state along the border with North Carolina.

He said Jenkins resigned with no notice and no explanation in early December. She was arrested two weeks later on Dec. 22. Matherly told the station that his office was never notified about an investigation and nobody else in his office was questioned in regards to the case.

A grand jury found probable cause to indict Jenkins on four counts of aggravated child abuse, neglect and endangerment of a child under the age of 8 according to court records reviewed by Oxygen.com. The abuse allegedly took place between March 7 to May 12 and May 22 to August 5 of this year, according to Washington County Criminal Court records reviewed by WJHL.

A police handout of Kirsten Jenkins

Jenkins is being held at the Washington County Detention Center on a $100,000 bond. Her next court appearance is scheduled for April 3.

First Judicial District Attorney General’s Office’s Mike Little and Washington County Sheriff’s Office’s Michael Gardner are listed as witnesses at the grand jury proceedings, according to WJHL.

WJHL reported that Jenkins is being charged under a Tennessee law known as “Haley’s Law,” which provides for tougher punishments for certain child abuse cases.

Haley’s law allows charges to be upgraded if the victim was under the age of eight. The statue also permits harsher sentences if: the act of abuse, neglect or endangerment results in serious bodily injury to the child; a deadly weapon, dangerous instrumentality or controlled substance is used to accomplish the act of abuse, neglect or endangerment; or the act of abuse, neglect or endangerment was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel, or involved the infliction of torture to the victim.

The law can also be applied if the abuse, neglect or endangerment was from knowingly exposing the victim or victims to the meth manufacturing process, according to the station.

Washington County has not provided further information on the charges in the case.

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