Woman charged after report of child abuse

Gussie Stephens (Source: CCDC)
Gussie Stephens (Source: CCDC)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A 28-year-old woman accused of child abuse was arrested late last week, police say.

Gussie Stephens, of Line Street, was arrested last Friday and charged with cruelty to children, according to Charleston Police Department records.

The arrest comes after a guidance counselor at Sanders-Clyde Elementary School, located on Morrison Drive, reported potential signs of abuse on a student late last year.

According to an incident report, police responded to the school on Dec. 20 and spoke with both the guidance counselor and a case worker with the Department of Social Services.

A guidance counselor said he had escorted the victim to his office where a Department of Social Services worker and reporting officer spoke to the victim.  The reporting officer said they saw redness and bruising around the neck area of the victim.

The victim told authorities that she received the injuries when her mother beat her with a belt. According to the victim, her mother also hit her in the face with the belt and kicked her in the left hip area, where the DSS worker observed tender spots.

The reporting officer said they did not observe any injuries or bruises to two other children who were also brought into the office.

Authorities say when they were unable to contact Stephens to place the three children with family or friends, the three juveniles were taken into emergency protective custody.

According to a report, when Stephens arrived at the school and was notified of the situation, Stephens "stormed out" of the school and appeared "extremely irate and agitated."

Following an investigation, Stephens was charged for the abuse.

Copyright 2013 WCSC.  All rights reserved.