Woman Facing Years in Prison For Filming Daughter Licking Tongue Depressor at Clinic

Woman Facing Years in Prison For Filming Daughter Licking Tongue Depressor at Clinic July 16, 2019
Cori Ward filmed her daughter licking a tongue depressor. Many speculate that the girl was participating in the licking challenge.

A Florida mother was arrested for filming her daughter at a doctor’s office licking a tongue depressor and putting it back in the container. Cori Ward, 30, of Jacksonville, Florida, shared the video on SnapChat. Prosecutors charged Ward with tampering with a consumer product without regard for possible death or injury, a felony.

While at the doctor’s office with her daughter, Cori Ward filmed her daughter lick a tongue depressor and put it back in the jar. On the wall above the medical items, a sign read, “Please do not touch medical supplies! Thank you!”

After she filmed the incident, Ward uploaded the video to SnapChat. The clinic learned about the girl’s actions and notified authorities. In a statement to the media, All About Kids and Families Medical Center wrote,

 “We were notified yesterday that a patient violated our trust with behavior that is inconsistent with the practices and standards that we uphold and expect at our facility.

“Upon notification of this isolated incident, we contacted law enforcement to request a full and thorough investigation. In addition, we immediately removed all materials and container from the specific exam room and re-sanitized our entire facility. Our internal investigation does not reveal any resulting risks or harm to patients from this action.”

Police investigated the incident and arrested the mother for allowing her daughter to lick a tongue depressor and put it back in a jar. Authorities arrested Ward last week. During her first court appearance, a judge set her bail at $2,500.00. The judge ordered Ward to stay off social media and to have no contact with the clinic.

According to state sentencing guidelines, Ward faces up to 20 years in prison for the social media stunt. A new challenge on social media may have caused the mother to film her daughter. The licking challenge dares people to lick consumer items used or bought by the public. Recently a photo of a woman in Texas licking a container of ice cream at a grocery store went viral.

Cori Ward denied that she and her daughter were participating in the licking challenge at the doctor’s office. In an attempt to defend herself, Ward wrote on Facebook,

“What I didn’t know was that there was a “licking challenge” as I don’t scroll social media like that,” Ward wrote

Also, the mother insisted that she threw away the tongue depressor immediately after she filmed. Ward stated that the video was only shown to 20 of her friends on SnapChat.

“The video doesn’t show that the items were thrown away or anything else that happened,” Ward added. “I posted this on my personal Snapchat with my 20-something friends, where someone allowed another person to video it. I didn’t post it on Facebook or YouTube as a challenge or whatever.”

Ward told News4Jax that she was just acting goofy with her children while they waited at the doctor’s office. She denied that she put any children at risk. Additionally, Ward said she told the staff at the clinic about the incident before they left the clinic. However, the clinic has not verified where they obtained the information about the product tampering.

No matter her reasons for the video, a felony charge for the poor decision seems like an overreaction by the state. Product tampering is extremely dangerous, but the clinic stated that no one was harmed from the incident.

Ward’s attorney stated they are requesting a state attorney review of the charges.

For now, we will have to see how the case plays out in court.

Please don’t participate in the licking challenge.

*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    Bah, my first comment got censored. So I’ll do the short version, and get through:

    Lots of layers of stup idity with this one…

  • Cozmo the Magician

    is the word LICK being censorbotted? Will make any comments impossible.

    surprise! it is not.

  • Judy Thompson

    It was a stupid thing to do, both allowing it to happen, and then posting the video. But it is not worthy of jail time, good LORD. The real harm would have come if the child had a contagious disease, which apparently she did not. and if she thinks now it’s okay to lick tongue depressors when she goes to the doctor.

  • Lambchopsuey

    Note that “no one was harmed” specifically because the clinic found out about the tampering and undertook great effort to sanitize the entire facility and at some cost (throwing out the supplies contaminated by that girl and her mother). This is serious and I’m glad they’re going to throw the book at her. Bunch of hillbillies…

  • johnsoncatman

    Maybe not jail time, but she should have to pay for all the supplies that had to be thrown out and for the cleaning/sanitizing of the facility.

  • Friend

    Next time, make a balloon out of a rubber glove.

  • Friend

    Jail time, though? Why not a fine, community service, a chance to make amends?

  • persephone

    Why would she be filming it unless she was going to post it? She’s lying.

  • Friend

    The video was apparently on Snapch@t, and the mother said “someone allowed another person to video it.” This is easy to do: play the video on one screen, while somebody uses a cell phone to record the video. Then they can post their version, and it escapes into the wild.

    Granted, the mother was not thinking ahead. What a thing to do with a child in a doctor’s office.

    (I’ve filmed things that are not posted anywhere at all. What we used to call home movies, kids playing outside, bl0wing out birthday candles, etc.)

  • WallofSleep

    I disagree. This kind of disgusting act could’ve potentially had deadly consequences for any immunocompromised people visiting there. 20 years seems way too excessive to me, however. Maybe something more like 3-6 months.

  • WallofSleep

    Several hundred hours of community service cleaning park restrooms.

  • Knitting Cat Lady

    Huh. All the tongue depressors I encounter are either individually wrapped, wooden, and single use or metal, autoclaved, and multi use.

    The single use I usually find at the GP, the multi use I encounter at ENT offices.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    Maybe not jail time, but she should have to pay for all the supplies that had to be thrown out and for the cleaning/sanitizing of the facility.

    No. That is merely restitution, and restitution is never sufficient as punishment. Restitution is an all-square activity, returning it to the initial state. However,

    1) that does not address the fact that, in the meantime, the victim has been slighted. For example, the hospital is without the use of an examination room for a time, and has to go through the hassle of getting it sanitized, and
    2) There is no net cost to the one who committed the action.

    If someone steals $100 from you, you are without $100 until you can get it back. And if they just give it back to you, and that’s all, they are no worse off than had they not stolen the money in the first place. Some sort of punishment above and beyond actual costs is required.

    You can argue about the level of that punishment (fine or community service vs jail time), but there has to be something.

  • LimeGecko

    What she did was wrong. But not felony level wrong. She shouldn’t even face a criminal record for this. Put her in a diversion program, assign her to some community service, then disappear the incident.

  • Mike Stevens

    The mother’s story is completely implausible on several levels.
    Best to be honest and be thought of as a bit of an id1ot and meriting a degree of sympathy, rather than revealing herself to be devious and dishonest which would make it likelier someone want to make an example of her.

  • With her tongue.

  • WallofSleep

    I’d say make her clean my bathroom that way, but not only would that be cruel and unusual punishment, I’m pretty sure it’s a gross violation of the Geneva Conventions.

    (I clean my bathroom once a year, whether it needs it or not.)