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Mom defends alarming photos of toddler with Down syndrome in washing machine

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ERSKINE, Scotland - Alarming photos of a toddler inside a washing machine have resulted in an angry backlash online, but the woman who posted the images says they are misunderstood.

Courtney Stewart, 21, was babysitting a 2-year-old boy with Down syndrome when the child climbed on top of the appliance.

"He's got a bit of a washing obsession," Stewart told the Daily Record.  "Anyone who knows him would know he's got a washing obsession."

Stewart put him in the washing machine, which she says was unplugged, and snapped a couple photos of him inside with the door cracked open "for a laugh."

"He is clearly laughing in the pictures," she told the paper.

On Thursday, she posted the images on Facebook -- and that's when the laughing stopped.  Since then, Stewart says she has been both verbally and physically assaulted, even by her own neighbors.

A 42-year-old neighbor attacked her in front of her house, pummeling the woman with her fists.

"She came to my door and said I was a f-----g nutter and she wouldn't let me anywhere near her kids."  That woman was arrested on assault charges.

At least one person called the police, and the photos led to an investigation.  It's not clear if any charges will be filed.