Worker at day care pleads guilty to biting disabled child in the face


Mary Bookman appears in a booking photo

Mary Alice Bookman appears in a booking photo. (West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation)

A West Virginia woman faces decades in prison after admitting to biting a child in the face at the day care where she worked this past summer.

In late September, Mary Alice Bookman, 42, pleaded guilty to two counts of child abuse resulting in injury and two counts of battery of a disabled child over the incident. Both crimes are felony offenses.

Two counts of malicious wounding were dropped by prosecutors in exchange for the defendant pleading guilty to the other charges, according to Parkersburg-based NBC affiliate WTAP.

The underlying incidents occurred on Aug. 22.

At the time, Bookman was employed at Pleasants County Christian Childcare LLC, which is located in the small city of St. Marys, situated along the Ohio River and due east of the Buckeye State. She was in charge of multiple children and apparently had it out for one in particular — abusing the child on two separate occasions that same day, according to court documents obtained by the TV station.

“I don’t condone what [Bookman] did,” day care owner Kayla Haught told WTAP. “All staff are medically cleared to work with children and must complete a background check before they are hired.”

The day care is still doing business.

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The defendant was arrested on Aug. 25, according to jail records reviewed by Law&Crime.

In additional comments to the TV station, Haught said Bookman was fired immediately after the dire allegations were confirmed.

That confirmation, the owner said, came by way of surveillance footage. Another employee there initially made the allegation against Bookman, Haught told WTAP, so the boss reviewed the footage herself. After that, she said, the child’s parents were informed of the abuse. Additional phone calls were then made to the West Virginia Child Abuse Hotline and local law enforcement, Haught said.

Haught added that her business is heavily monitored with security cameras. She also said the crime was shocking because of specific training Bookman had attended: workshops on child abuse and child abuse reporting.

Of greatest concern was a bite to the child’s face that left a mark that lasted eight days, according to court documents filed by the Pleasants County Prosecutor’s Office and obtained by the TV station.

There were also allegedly additional injuries to the child.

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The defendant is currently being detained at the North Central Regional Jail. Her bail was initially set at $80,000 cash bond; that amount has since risen to $400,000 in the form of a property or surety bail, according to Mountain State prison records.

Law&Crime reached out to the PCPO for additional details on this story but no response was immediately forthcoming.

Bookman is currently slated to be sentenced on Dec. 11; she faces a sentence of up to 20 years behind bars.

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