According to his arrest warrant, Huffman, of Sylva, faces two misdemeanor charges. assault on a female and child abuse.
Sylva police say the incident took place Aug. 19 during a remote learning session for Fairview Elementary School involving a 13-year-old child.
A participant in the class recorded the incident Sylva police say it shows the girl at home and Huffman wrapping his arm around the child's jawline and squeezing tightly. Authorities report after a few seconds, the child is released and begins to cry, then, they say she was struck in the head.
“Right now, with children being at home a lot more, that's sort of an underlying concern for us,” says District Attorney Ashley Welch. “We're certainly seeing a rise in these types of cases. We're concerned about sort of the underlying stresses that are happening in homes."
Welch isn't commenting on this specific case. But with COVID-19 and lots of kids learning from home, she says her office is seeing an uptick in domestic violence and child abuse. She wants any child who feels they're in danger to reach out to a trusted adult or law enforcement.
“If there are any teachers that see something that concerns them to not hesitate to report it either to the SRO at their school or to DSS or law enforcement,” she says.
Welch says the misdemeanor charges are what the law allows right now.
“We bring charges based on the law as it exists not what we would like it to be or what we think it should be,” she says