Mom in tainted tongue depressor case facing lesser charge

Cori Ward, 30, charged with contributing to delinquency of a minor

By Frank Powers - Assignment manager

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Jacksonville mother accused of filming a viral video of her 10-year-old daughter licking a tongue depressor at a local clinic and putting it back in the jar is facing a lesser charge than the one she was arrested on, News4Jax has learned.

Cori Ward was initially charged with tampering with a consumer product without regard for possible death or bodily injury, which is a felony. She could have faced up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted on that charge.

But court records show the State Attorney's Office instead filed a misdemeanor charge on Sept. 5 of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

A judge previously ruled Ward could go free while she awaits trial so long as she avoids social media and does not have any contact with the All About Kids & Families Medical Center, where the video was filmed.

Ward leaving jail

The video was filmed after what Ward described as a long wait in the examination room. It was uploaded to her Snapchat with the following caption: "Don't tell me how to live my life."

Later, someone else recorded a copy of the clip and shared it on "Only in Duval," a popular Facebook group where locals share the antics and exploits that seem to be characteristic of Jacksonville.

But after the video went viral, the clinic's administration called for a full police investigation. That investigation led to the arrest of Ward, who insisted she was "just being silly" with her children.

The tainted materials were removed, the medical center said.

“It’s ruined my life right now," Ward told News4Jax previously. "That’s how I feel at least."

The video followed a series of similar incidents across the country, which appear to have been inspired by a teen caught on camera licking the top of an ice cream tub before placing it back inside a store freezer.

Ward has a pretrial hearing Sept. 17.

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