Swim Instructor Charged With Neglect Over Boy’s Near Death

By The Associated Press

MAITLAND, Fla.—A Florida swim instructor has been charged with child neglect over the near death of a 3-year-old boy who slipped underwater for more than two minutes while under her supervision.

News outlets report Park Maitland School worker 34-year-old Jessica Kretz was arrested this week. She is the only instructor charged in the 2018 incident, though three others were present. Maitland police say she was supervising the boy and knew he couldn’t swim.

Police released surveillance video Thursday that shows the boy losing his grip on a floating device and sinking beneath the water as the teachers work nearby with other children. Kretz later notices the boy and pulls him from the water.

The boy’s family is suing the school for negligence. The school says it no longer employs the teachers. It’s unclear whether Kretz has a lawyer.

Child Abuse

An estimated 674,000 children were determined to be victims of maltreatment in 2017, according to the Department of Health & Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families. Of the victims, about 75 percent were neglected, 18 percent were physically abused, and 9 percent were sexually abused. Nationwide, an estimated 1,720 children died from abuse and neglect, a decline from the 1,750 children who died from the same in the previous year.

Of the abused children, 25 percent were younger than 1 year old. Another 52 percent were between 1 year old and 5 years old. The children who were killed by abuse or neglect were also overwhelmingly young, with about half of the fatalities being younger than 1 year old. Boys made up 58 percent of the deaths.

Perpetrators of abuse or neglect are most often in the 25 to 34 age range. More than four-fifths (83.4 percent) of the perpetrators were between 18 and 44 years old. Perpetrators were more likely to be female.

If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, contact your local child protective services office or law enforcement agency so officials can investigate and assess the situation. Most states have a number to call to report abuse or neglect.

To find out where to call, consult the State Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Numbers website. The Childhelp organization can also provide crisis assistance and other counseling and referral services. Contact them at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453).

“Every year more than 3.6 million referrals are made to child protection agencies involving more than 6.6 million children (a referral can include multiple children),” according to Childhelp.

Simon Veazey contributed to this report