Daycare owner arrested for felony child abuse

By JAMES PHILLIPS,

Tina Jolly, 52, who resides on Russel Community Road in the Ringgold Community north of Forest was arrested on charges of Child Abuse-Inflict Serious Bodily Harm May 28 and  has been released on bond. Jolly is the owner and operator of a private day care located in her home.

A search of all licensed child care facilities listed with the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) Office of Licensure revealed that neither Jolly, nor any facility in her name, has ever been officially licensed with the State of Mississippi.

The current child abuse allegations against Jolly are the first formal charges she has faced, but more than one parent of the children Jolly kept have had questions and have contacted local and state officials about questionable treatment of their children while in Jolly’s care. Those parents who were contacted all declined to comment on record.

Officials at the MSDH declined to comment on the alleged unlicensed child care services and the alleged child abuse allegations against Jolly.

At present time Jolly is facing one count of felony child abuse that is defined by the Mississippi Code Title 97 Chapter 5 as: “Any person who shall intentionally (i) burn any child, (ii) torture any child or (iii) except in self-defense or in order to prevent bodily harm to a third party, whip, strike or otherwise abuse or mutilate any child in such a manner as to cause serious bodily harm, shall be guilty of felonious abuse of a child.”

The parent who contacted the Scott County Sheriff’s Department to report the alleged child abuse and pursue charges against Jolly said that she has been instructed by authorities not to comment on the case at this time.

If Jolly is convicted of the current charges, she faces imprisonment in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections for life or such lesser term of imprisonment as the court may determine, but not less than 10 years. For any second or subsequent conviction under this subsection, the person shall be sentenced to imprisonment for life.

Scott County District Attorney Steven Kilgore said he has no comment at this time as this is an active investigation of the Scott County Sheriff’s Department.  Sheriff Mike Lee had not returned calls to his office at press time on Tuesday.

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