A daycare operator convicted of abusing the children in her care was sentenced to 9 and a half years in prison on Thursday.
The court also ordered Carmel Mauda to pay 400,000 shekels ($120,000) in compensation to the children’s parents. The prosecution had sought a 14-year sentence for her, but Judge Ami Kobo deemed that excessive.
The Central District Court in Lod convicted Mauda in December on 17 counts of assaulting and abusing 11 children at the daycare center she ran at her home in Rosh Ha’ayin. The children were between three months and three years of age.
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The violence, which occurred in June 2019, was filmed by security cameras at the daycare center and the footage was later published in the media. It shows her kicking and shaking the children, throwing them onto mattresses and stepping on them.
“Nine years in jail isn’t enough,” said Yossi Hevra, the father of one of the children. “Nevertheless, we’re pleased. There’s never been a sentence like this against an abusive daycare operator; it will make the next one think twice before daring to lift a hand against a child.”
But he criticized the prosecution’s handling of the case, saying it had “removed children from the indictment without informing their parents.”
When the footage of Mauda’s abuse was published, it sparked a storm. Parents protested in the streets against the state’s failure to prevent violence at daycare centers, and someone torched Mauda’s home shortly after she was indicted.
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Back in April, some of the parents described what has happened since the abuse was discovered. One mother, Einav Kastiel, said that when her daughter was in Mauda’s care, “she’d come home hungry; at 5 P.M. she’d come home and eat four or five plates of food.”
Ever since, Kastiel has taken her daughter to work with her because “she can’t be with caregivers; she wets herself. She was in a regular preschool, but now she’s in special education, getting psychological treatment and suffering from language difficulties.”
Mauda’s public defender, Shiran Bergman, said the sentence was harsh, but less than the prosecution had wanted because “the court’s ruling gave weight – albeit not enough, in our view – to the brutal public trial that Carmel and her family suffered through.”