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Mom trying to protect special needs daughter arrested after sending listening device to school, family says
WATSON - A woman was arrested after she allegedly sent a recording device to school with her special needs child.
The Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office said Amanda Carter, 39, was arrested on 20 counts of interception and disclosure of wire, electronic or oral communication. The sheriff's office and the school system announced the arrest in coordinated statements Tuesday afternoon.
The Livingston Parish school system said it contacted law enforcement after administrators uncovered a recording device on campus.
Sources close to the family told the WBRZ Investigative Unit that the sheriff's office started investigating the situation after a parent sent a recording device to school with a special needs child, fearing she was being mistreated. The device was reportedly attached to the girl's wheelchair.
The WBRZ Investigative Unit has reviewed recordings of the child interacted with several unidentified adults at school.
Those recordings include at least one instance in which someone at the school jokes that they "almost slammed her," in what appears to be a reference to Gracie, who can be heard moaning during the same audio clip.
Amanda Carter's trouble stems from the moment where her daughter's wheelchair was moved to other areas in the school without her daughter in it. That's when other conversations were recorded.
The sheriff's office alleges that multiple devices were discovered over the course of the school year and that those recordings were edited and posted to social media without the consent of those being recorded.
Amanda Carter was unable to speak to WBRZ. Her husband, Jesse Carter says Amanda was told by a judge that she could not speak on the case.
Jesse Carter is not Gracie's biological father, but has helped raise her with Amanda.
He denies the allegations from the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office that the recordings were edited.
"They were not edited. But I would love for the Livingston Sheriff's Department to put them up for public view. And get a specialist and we will see if they are really edited," Jesse Carter said.
Jesse Carter told WBRZ that he is scared his wife could go to prison for trying to protect their daughter.
"They set her up for failure."
He maintains that the recording devices were only used to make sure that Gracie, who is non verbal, was safe at school.
"[Gracie] can't tell us none of this. We don't know, nobody communicates, so Amanda did what every parent would do and wanted to find out how she was getting hurt each and everyday. It's just a shame that they would do this to a mother."
The school system said that none of its employees are being investigated based on the contents of the recordings.
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