BEIRUT — Following an investigation into child abuse at the Garderêve nursery in Jdeideh-Metn, Mount Lebanon Court of Appeal investigating judge Rania Yahfoufi charged two women with attempted murder and complicity.
Garderêve owner Tony Mehanna, 38, is charged with attempted murder of a child while Garderêve employee Jenny Khoury, 44, is charged with complicity in the crime.
L'Orient Today was able to review a copy of the judge's decision.
The two women were provisionally arrested on July 18 after a video depicting the two women violently striking and force-feeding children went viral.
The video was filmed by nursery assistant Joumana Bou Said, 57, who released the footage three months after leaving the nursery amid a dispute with the owner. Bou Said was arrested on July 25.
In the video, Khoury can be seen forcing food into the mouth of an infant as well as forcing a young child to swallow a large mouthful quickly, then striking him on the head for vomiting and brutally pushing him back to his chair.
Such acts represent "a great risk to the children's lives, given their young age and the impossibility for them to resist other than through fear and crying," said Judge Yahfoufi.
In her statement, the judge affirmed that Khoury "could not deny what she was accused of, while attributing her actions to a mental disorder, and was in charge of 20 children." Yahfoufi refused the request to appoint a forensic doctor to examine Khoury's mental health.
As for the owner of Garderêve, the examining magistrate accused her of "recruiting a person [Jenny Khoury] without a childcare diploma, relying on this person to look after 20 children on her own, and neglecting to install surveillance cameras."
Judge Yahfoufi transferred the case to the Public Prosecutor's Office, which is expected to forward it to the Mount Lebanon Criminal Court.