Jacques Edwards was working at an Administration for Children's Services foster care center as a juvenile counselor when he allegedly shoved a 6-year-old boy headfirst into a filing cabinet.
According to a criminal complaint obtained by NY1, Edwards on Friday "pushed the child against the door in effect using the child to open the door," and "lift him off the ground and put him into the top drawer" of the cabinet.
"As soon as we learned about what happened, we relieved the individual of duty. We also immediately informed the NYPD," said David Hansell, commissioner of the Administration for Children's Services.
Edwards was arraigned Monday on felony assault and child endangerment charges.
State records show Edwards served 28 years in prison for a murder in Brooklyn when he was 18 years old, which should have disqualified him from working for ACS.
When asked whether a murderer should be working with children, Hansell said, "I think we're all concerned about that, as I say. We follow the protocols of the Justice Center."
The Justice Center is a state agency that maintains a registry of people ineligible to work with vulnerable children. The Center tells NY1 that its records show that "Jacques Edwards was never submitted for a background check by ACS, as required by law.”
NY1 Investigates found that the city also failed to conduct its own check of Edwards for criminal convictions, a requirement for anyone hired as a juvenile counselor.
Stephen Levin heads the City Council's committee on general welfare.
"It's very concerning, and we need to know how that happened," he said. "Was this a loophole, or did somebody not do their job appropriately, or was there a gap in the background practice?
The incident is another black eye for ACS, which has faced withering criticism for missing opportunities to intervene and help several children who later died of abuse.
"They need to get it right 100 percent of the time, and you can only do that if you're constantly vigilant about your practices and making sure the reforms are taking place in an ongoing fashion," Levin said.
Hansell says he's changed to the hiring process since taking over the agency last year.
"Our current hiring protocols for positions like this are very different and much stricter than they were when he was hired," Hansell said.
The commissioner admitted he has no idea if there are other child welfare employees with felony convictions working with the city's most vulnerable kids. He says they're implementing spot checks, but critics want a top-to-bottom review.