MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — News 2 has confirmed Sarah Fuson, who is the daughter of Montgomery County Sheriff John Fuson, has been charged with two counts of child abuse.

A Montgomery County Grand Jury indictment states Sarah Fuson “unlawfully, intentionally, or knowingly and other than by accidental means” treated a child under 8 years old in such a manner to inflict serious bodily injury. 

“At the request of District Attorney General Robert Nash, TBI special agents are investigating the actions of Sarah Fuson in relation to a reported instance of suspected child abuse that occurred at her place of employment, a daycare center in Montgomery County. The investigation remains active and ongoing,” Josh Devine with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) told News 2. 

Sarah Jo Fuson (Courtesy: Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)

The TBI confirmed Sarah Fuson is accused of abusing a toddler in her care and was booked into the Montgomery County Jail on a $25,000 bond.

News 2 obtained the complaint filed through the Department of Human Services that claims a child at Tylertown Learning Center was pushed up against a table to eat. According to the report, the child was also put on their cot in a way that left “marks and bruises on her arms.”

The violations section in the complaint noted Tylertown Learning Center used improper discipline. According to DHS, the complaint was investigated and a safety plan was served.

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News 2 reached out to the learning center for comment. We received the following statement from Kevin Short, the Operations Minister at Living Hope Church, which is affiliated with the daycare.

“On January 10, 2023, we were deeply saddened to learn an incident occurred between one of our students and a staff member at our facility (Tylertown Learning Center) on Tylertown Road.  The same day our director conducted an investigation that concluded in the staff member being terminated.  The student’s family as well as the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS) and the Clarksville Police Department (CPD) were immediately contacted to report what had occurred.

Both DCS and CPD sent representatives to investigate what had transpired.  Due to the nature of the incident, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) became involved and sent agents to investigate.  Our senior leadership and staff have fully cooperated with the authorities as they conducted their investigations.  It is our policy to fully cooperate with these authorities when dealing with the safety and welfare of our students and staff.  We have also supported the family of the student and will continue to do so through the conclusion of this process.   

We do not know the status of the DCS, CPD, and/or TBI investigation.  We have provided them with all the items they have requested along with lengthy statements from our employees.  We have provided additional training to our employees and are passionately committed to providing the safest and highest quality of care to our students and families.”

Kevin Short, Operations Minister at Living Hope Church

John Fuson has not responded to News 2’s requests comment since the indictment was made public. Previously his public information officer released the following statement on the sheriff’s behalf:

“Without a doubt, removing the booking log from our website has been the most controversial decision of my tenure. Shying away from doing the right thing is not something that I will do. This is true regardless of what may be going on in my personal life or what is going on in the personal lives of every person that has been posted on our website. 

The fact that my daughter has found herself in the crosshairs of an investigation, was not the sole reason for removing the mugshots from our website. Discussions regarding the removal of mugshots from the website have occurred since becoming Sheriff.  Evaluating the benefit of good policy versus the pain, ridicule, embarrassment, and prejudgment that has steadily increased on social media, which is directly related to posting these mugshots, is in totality the reason for removing them. 

I have dedicated my adult life to protecting and serving every citizen of my county. That dedication has not and will not waiver. Since becoming Sheriff, that dedication has come with some extremely difficult challenges on many fronts. As I have already mentioned, during my tenure as Sheriff, many have reached out to me regarding the harsh and progressively worsening effects that these mugshots have on their friends and families. We have all witnessed this heartless and disgusting commentary that is reposted (with our mugshots), by individuals and certain agenda-driven groups. This has overwhelmingly become nothing short of bullying, and entertainment for bullies. I cannot and will not stand for and easily allow that to continue any longer. 

Regarding the timing of this change and just as I have mentioned, the decision to remove the mugshots, carries the same level of concern for my daughter and family, as every other person and their families. My daughter has not been charged or arrested for anything. The removal of the mugshots from publication was purposed to protect the rights of ALL of those who have been arrested and accused of a crime moving forward. I cannot change or alter the impact of those in the past, but I can and have been compelled to change and hopefully impact those people and their families moving forward.

I will not comment on the circumstances of the investigation involving my daughter, other than saying that due to my position, she has been more harshly scrutinized, shamed, and prejudged. This is not fair to her or my family. As any father would do, I WILL do everything that I can to support and protect her. I understand the investigative and legal procedures and will use that experience. It is my expectation that the facts and circumstances surrounding these allegations will be thoroughly investigated and evaluated. This is my professional duty and obligation as the Sheriff and is also the duty and obligation of any law enforcement entity authorized to investigate crimes and enforce our laws.”

Sheriff John Fuson

Just after 5 p.m. on Wednesday, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office public information officer told News 2 Sarah Fuson was no longer in jail.

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Sarah Fuson’s first court hearing in the case is set for May 8 in Montgomery County.