Upstate woman accused of abusing kids had past child neglect conviction

(Photo: WYFF)
(Photo: WYFF)

SENECA, SC (WYFF) - An Upstate woman is accused of abusing two children in her care and is now facing several charges, according to Seneca Police Chief John Covington.

Covington said Mattie Brooks, 58, is charged with two counts of unlawful conduct toward a child and one count of criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

According to an arrest warrant, Brooks mutilated a girl, confined her to a doghouse for hours and days at a time, and caused her to drink unsafe chemicals between January 1999 and December 2009.

A separate warrant said Brooks burned a boy, deprived him of food and water, and confined the child to a bedroom for hours and days at a time between February 1999 and December 2009.

Another warrant said Brooks engaged in sexual battery with a child when the girl was between the ages of 5 and 8 years old between March 2001 and March 2004.

Brooks was arrested during a search at a home near downtown Seneca Thursday morning.

During her arrest, Brooks said, "I don't know what's going on.  I don't have any children in my home."

Covington said this is part of an investigation that has been going on for several months.

Brooks was charged with two counts of unlawful neglect toward a child in January 1999. South Carolina Law Enforcement Division records show she pleaded guilty to those charges.

SLED records show she was sentenced to 10 years in prison but that sentence was suspended to three years probation. In that case, Brooks is accused of tying two children's hands behind their backs with a belt and striking them with an electrical cord several times.

Investigators said they believe Brooks was acting as a foster parent and that she was getting money from the state of New York.

Seneca Police said they have documentation from the past that shows Brooks was being paid for having children in her care and custody in New York State.

Police said the documents show Brooks received about $24 or $25 per day.  Police said it's not clear if Brooks received that amount for one child or multiple children, and also said there is no indication that the payment to Brooks has ended.

Police said, at this time, it is not clear when Brooks began receiving money from New York State.

Police said there are indications that Brooks may have been a resident in other states, in addition to New York and South Carolina.

A South Carolina Department of Social Services representative said Brooks was never licensed in the state and that the department has never placed a child in her custody.

Brooks' bond was set at $1 million surety due to the severity of the charges and the fact that there have been prior convictions.

Penalty for criminal sexual conduct with a minor first degree is up to 30 years in prison.

Penalty for unlawful conduct toward a child is up to 10 years.

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