Henrico, VA (WWBT) - The mother of a 4-year-old at the center of a child abuse case said the prosecutor supposedly working to get justice for her son, mishandled the case.
NBC12 reported on Tammy Whittle’s case back in May.
Whittle says her son Taaj, who was three at the time, was pushed by a daycare worker at Precious People Childcare Center on Old Williamsburg Road in Henrico, in October of 2017.
After the incident, Whittle says, the supervisor lied to her about what happened. She learned about the incident the following day when police and child protective services contacted her because another employee allegedly called police to confess what truly happened.
The two employees were charged with felony child abuse and neglect, and have been going through the court system the past year. But on Wednesday, when Whittle expected to go to the Henrico County Circuit Court for the two employees' trials, the judge let them walk free on the condition they complete 50 hours of community service.
This was an apparent result of a verbal agreement between the prosecutor with the Henrico County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office handling Taaj’s case and the defense attorneys. It was a deal that Whittle said she was never informed of.
“It feels like the prosecution was working more with the defendants than with my child,” Whittle said.
Whittle found out about the deal several weeks ago from the prosecutor, a woman who was put on the case after her previous prosecutor left.
“The new prosecutor said the previous prosecutor was the one who made the agreement. When I first heard about it a couple of weeks ago, I reached out to the old prosecutor on the phone. I spoke to him to see if he remembered the case and he did. I asked, before you left the office, did you make such an agreement and he said no, he didn’t make that agreement.”
It’s a verbal agreement Whittle has been trying to get to the bottom of and has been appalled by, especially since she wasn’t given the chance to give her input.
“I think they had enough evidence,” Whittle said. “They went to a grand jury and they found evidence strong enough to charge them with felonies. I was confused because this is the prosecutor I am trusting to handle my child’s case."
Ultimately, Whittle found the agreement was made by the new prosecutor.
We reached out to Shannon Taylor, the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Henrico County who says by good faith, prosecutors should inform the victims and their families of what steps they may take, but they don’t have to by law.
In regards to this case Taylor said, “I share the Whittle’s disappointment in how the case was resolved, however my understanding is this was the result of some misunderstanding or miscommunication... that misunderstanding resulted in this offer that was accepted, and I also have to recognize that the law provides little option for me to override that. This gives us an opportunity to review some of our internal procedures so that we can avoid another family’s disappointment.”
It’s disappointment that Whittle says will be felt for a very long time.
“It’s unbelievable, that our justice system this time let me down, it let our community down,” Whittle said.
For now, Whittle’s only option is to consider filing a civil law suit.