LA DayCare License Revoked After Continued Abuse Of Children

.jpg photo of graphic for daycare facility
In a statement, the department says the decision comes after instances of children being mistreated by staff.

West Monroe DayCare license revoked
after Child Abuse allegations

WEST MONROE, LA  –  The Louisiana Dept. of Education has revoked the license and pulled public funding from Assembly Kidz Daycare in West Monroe.

In a statement, the department says the decision comes after instances of children being mistreated by staff.

The statement also says the center failed to timely report the most recent incident.  Read more about that incident here.

You can read the full news release below.

The Louisiana Department of Education today revoked the license of an early learning center in Ouachita Parish and terminated its public funding after escalating instances of children being mistreated by staff members, resulting in employees being terminated and arrested for cruelty to juveniles.  The center also failed to timely report the most recent incident to the appropriate state agencies and to the parents of the children involved.

“Early childhood education centers have the responsibility of not only preparing our youngest learners for success in Kindergarten and beyond, but also prioritizing their health, safety and well-being,” said State Superintendent John White.  “This center has proven it is unable to protect our children.”

Most recently, in August, the Department’s Division of Licensing inspected The Assembly Kidz Care, located at 1007 Glenwood Drive, after learning a staff member mistreated three 3-year-old children.

The center’s video showed the staff member picking up one child by the shirt before dropping them to the floor, causing the child to hit their head.

The staff member was then seen aggressively grabbing a second child while attempting to put the child down onto a sleeping mat, and dragging a third child across the room and onto a sleeping mat.

The center’s video also showed the staff member hitting and shaking the children.

 A parent watching the center’s video observed the mistreatment and brought it to the attention of the center’s director.  The center did not notify the state education department, the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services or the parents of the children involved within the required time frame.

This center is now ineligible for public funding through the Child Care Assistance Program, which helps make child care more affordable for working low-income families.   The education department has alerted families affected by this action and is working closely with them to identify safe, quality alternative options.

The Assembly Kidz Care has 15 calendar days from receipt of the notice of revocation to appeal the decision.  Providers who have had their licenses revoked are ineligible to apply for licensure for two years.  Operating a child care center without a license may result in an order to cease and desist, as well as an injunction from a court prohibiting the continued operation of a child care center without a license and placement on the statewide registry of individuals prohibited from operating a child care center.

Jury Clears NE Woman Of Child Abuse

.jpg photo of York County NE courthouse where jury finds woman not guilty of child abuse
York County Courthouse Nebraska, where Ashley A. Eckard, 29, was found not guilty of Child Abuse.

Jury finds McCool woman not guilty
of Child Abuse

YORK, NE  –  A York County jury has found a McCool Junction woman not guilty of child abuse.

Ashley A. Eckard, 29, was charged with committing child abuse intentionally/no injury, a Class 3A felony.

Now that she has been found not guilty, the charge has been dismissed.

According to court documents, it was alleged that she burned an 8-year-old child on the hand with a lit cigarette.

According to the affidavit filed with the court, the child told investigators with Health and Human Services and the York County Sheriff’s Department that Eckard intentionally burned her three times.

The child said when she told Eckard she was going to tell other adults what happened, Eckard allegedly grabbed her by the ear and instructed her to say she had gotten hurt sliding down a slide on a bouncy house – according to the court documents.

The sheriff’s department’s investigator said he observed three burns on the child’s hand that were approximately the same size as a cigarette, in his reporting for the affidavit.

The jury was convened, a trial was held and the jury came back with the verdict of not guilty.

Three People Accused Of Abuse At MD School For Disabled

.jpg photo of employee at special needs school accused of child sex abuse
Jermaine Thomas, 35

Employees for Private Special Education School Arrested on Child Abuse,
Sex Assault Charges

FREDERICK COUNTY, MD  –  Three employees at a private special education school in Frederick County, Maryland, were arrested Wednesday on child abuse and sexual assault charges.

.jpg photo of employee at special needs school accused of child sex abuse
Ariel Eppard, 27

A grand jury indicted 35-year-old Jermaine Thomas, 27-year-old Ariel Eppard and 32-year-old Wesley Dean in late August.

.jpg photo of employee at special needs school accused of child sex abuse
Wesley Dean, 32

They worked at The Jefferson School, a day school and residential treatment center for students with emotional and behavioral disabilities.

Frederick County prosecutors say the suspects abused a 17-year-old girl and an 18-year-old woman who were students at the school.

A spokesperson for the school said administrators took immediate action and notified police and Child Protective Services when they heard of allegations against the employees.

Thomas was charged with three counts of sex abuse of a minor and seven counts of child pornography/filming a sex act.

Eppard faces two counts of sex abuse of a minor, two counts of fourth-degree sex offense (person in position of authority) and two counts of a court-ordered provider engaging in a sex act.

Dean was charged with sex abuse of a minor, fourth-degree sex offense (person in position of authority) and two counts of court-ordered provider engaging in a sex act.

Dean, Eppard and Thomas were placed on leave and later fired, the spokesperson for the school said.

TX AG CEU Roundsup Child Predator

.jpg photo of child predator arrested for child sex abuse
Robert Lee Gonzales, 42, of El Campo, Texas.

AG Paxton’s Child Exploitation Unit Arrests El Campo Man for Sexual Assault of a Child

AUSTIN, TX  –  Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced that the Child Exploitation Unit of his office arrested 42-year-old Robert Lee Gonzales, of El Campo, Texas, pursuant to three warrants for sexual assault of a child.

A CyberTipline report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children® (NCMEC) alerted the Child Exploitation Unit (CEU) to Gonzales, who reportedly uploaded child pornography to a social media account.

Following a search warrant at his residence, Gonzales was interviewed by CEU investigators and denied possessing child pornography.

Investigators seized several digital storage devices for examination by the Digital Forensics Unit of the attorney general’s office.

As the investigation continued, a subsequent search warrant for Gonzales’ social media account revealed communications with two children, detailing sexual assaults, as well as images of child pornography.

The two children were identified and interviewed, both confirming that Gonzales sexually assaulted them.

Attorney General Paxton’s office works to protect children by using the latest technology to track down some of the most profoundly evil predators online.

Since its inception, the Child Exploitation Unit has made 334 arrests and obtained 589 convictions on charges for possession of child pornography.

Attorney General Paxton urges all parents and teachers to become aware of the risks children face on the internet and take steps to help ensure their safety.

If you suspect someone is producing or downloading child pornography, you can report it to NCMEC.
CyberTipline
1-800-843-5678

For more information on cyber safety, please visit:
https://texasattorneygeneral.gov/initiatives/cyber-safety/

TX School Bus Driver Facing Criminal Solicitation Of Minor

.jpg photo of bus driver arrested for criminal solicitation of a minor
Ruben Castillo, 63

Mesquite ISD bus driver attempted to solicit child for sex, police say

DALLAS, TX  –  A bus driver for Mesquite ISD was arrested Tuesday after police say he attempted to solicit a child for sex.

Ruben Castillo, 63, faces one count of criminal solicitation of a minor to commit sexual assault of a child, Mesquite police said.

Police did not release any additional details about the case but said that any other students who believe Castillo contacted them inappropriately should call the police department at 972-285-6336.

Castillo has worked as a bus driver for the district for 11 years, police said.

A Mesquite ISD spokeswoman said the district moved quickly to remove Castillo from his position and fire him after learning of his arrest.

“These charges are very troubling, and we are sickened that a trusted employee attempted to victimize one of our students,” the district said in a written statement. “While we are unaware of any other students who may have been impacted by Mr. Castillo’s actions, the district is cooperating fully with the police investigation.”

Castillo was being held in the Mesquite jail Tuesday evening, with bail set at $25,000, jail records showed.

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