Foster mother arrested after 19-month-old boy found with third-degree burns on legs: prosecutors



Shirley Verneus, 35, was charged with assault for allegedly scalding the toddler insider her Queens home.

BY OREN YANIV


A Queens foster mother was arrested for scalding a 19-month-old boy with boiling water until his skin peeled off, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Shirley Verneus, 35, was charged with assault for the disturbing incident in a tub at her St. Albans home.
“The child will be permanently scarred — both physically and emotionally — by the experience,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
The alleged abuse came to light when Verneus brought little Jaurelious Green for a meeting with his biological parents at the St. Christopher Ottile Foster Agency on Jan. 17. A case worker saw bandages on the boy’s legs and asked what happened.
The foster mom replied that she had left the toddler unattended in the bathtub with a 3-year-old two days earlier, court papers said.
She heard screams, then saw him in the tub with the water running and “observed the complainant’s skin peeling off,” according to the criminal complaint.
While Verneus claimed that she took the child to a clinic, she couldn’t show any record proving that, nor did she report the injuries to the foster agency, according to prosecutors.
And a doctor told investigators the second- and third-degree burns “from the top of his thighs down to the soles of his feet on both legs” and on his buttocks were more than a week old, the complaint said.
Jaurelious had to undergo surgeries and the delayed medical care exposed him to the risk of infections and other complications.
After an investigation, the foster mother was arrested and arraigned Tuesday night for first-degree assault, reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child.
Verneus was ordered held on a $100,000 bond. She faces as much as 25 years in prison if convicted.
She’s due back in court June 16.
Her lawyer didn’t return a call for comment.
Prosecutors could not say who is currently caring for Jaurelious or whether Verneus was fostering other children.
A spokesman for the Administration for Children’s Services did not immediately comment on the specifics of the case.