Daycare worker arrested, charged with
2 counts of aggravated Child Abuse
BRANDON, FL – A daycare worker in Brandon was arrested on Friday for two counts of aggravated child abuse, officials say.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office say on Dec. 18, the parents of an infant took their child to the pediatrician when the baby turned pale in color and began throwing up. The baby spent the say attending Shepherd Day Care at 208 Terrace Drive in Brandon.
The infant was in the sole care and custody of 20-year-old Sarah Loria at the daycare.
The pediatrician initially diagnosed the baby with a stomach virus.
On Dec. 20, when Loria was caring for the baby, the infant became unresponsive. Loria then contacted the parent’s who transported the baby to a local hosital.
After an evaluation, it was confirmed that the infant suffered from shaken baby syndrome from both incidents.
On Friday, detectives with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office located and arrested Loria for two counts of aggravated child abuse.
She was transported to the Orient Road Jail without incident.
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.
Recalled Sleepers Linked To Infant Deaths Are Still Being Used in Daycare Centers
Earlier this year, Fischer-Price issued a recall of nearly five million Rock ‘n Play sleepers after the popular product was linked to at least 30 infant deaths. Not long after, Kids II recalled 700,000 of its own inclined sleepers due to similar concerns.
Several months later, one mom was shocked to find that these dangerous sleepers are still being used in some daycare centers, which could be putting their kids at risk.
Sarah Landis, a mom from Philadelphia, told Consumer Reports that in June, she came to her one-year-old son’s daycare and discovered that a Rock ‘n Play Sleeper was in the infant facility room. Landis told her husband, Adam Garber, who works in product safety. Garber gave the daycare a call to see if they were aware of the recall.
“Our daycare provider, who cares deeply about the kids, was really confused,” says Garber. “She said she thought there had only been a warning about the Rock ‘n Play Sleeper and that as long as the product was properly used, and babies were buckled in, it would be fine.”
Garber informed the daycare director that a full recall had been issued, something that the director says they were never informed about the extent of the recall and so they believed they were not putting children in danger by keeping theirs. William Wallace, the manager of home and safety policy for Consumer Reports, says that this can be common if companies give mixed messaging about a recall.
“Recalls don’t work well unless people get a clear and consistent message. And they especially don’t work well if manufacturers and the government fail to fully warn people about the risks of a product,” Wallace explained.
Fortunately, in this case, no infants were harmed as a result of the sleeper but considering the popularity of these products, it’s hard to imagine that there aren’t still daycare centers that are unknowingly using a product that has been proven to be dangerous.
What can you do if you are a parent who is unsure if your kid’s daycare is using one of these items? Garber says the most effective thing you can do is reach out.
“One of the things we’re telling folks is to just go in and ask what the center’s plan is to check for and remove recalled products—and then ask about specific products,” Garber says.
Ben Hoffman, M.D., chairperson of the American Academy of Pediatric’s Council on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention’s executive committee, agrees, adding that the safest thing for parents is to ensure that no inclined sleepers are being used.
“I would encourage parents to talk to day care providers and make sure their babies are put to sleep in a safe way, and not in a recalled product—but ideally not in any inclined sleeper,” Hoffman says.
McKinney daycare worker suspected in at
least three Child Abuse cases
MCKINNEY, TX – New police documents show a former McKinney day care worker arrested for child abuse is suspected of hurting three infants.
Records show while police were investigating the first complaint against Jessica Wiese and looking at daycare surveillance video, they discovered two more possible cases that the babies’ parents didn’t even know about.
Six-month-old Henry is one of the babies former Joyous Montessori McKinney worker Jessica Wiese is accused of injuring. His mother agreed to talk to FOX 4 as long as her face was not shown.
“I don’t know what to do, you know? I don’t know what the next steps are. This is all new to him. This is what he thinks life is,” she said. “And I can’t bear to think that anyone could hurt a precious baby.”
Henry’s mother said he has been in Wiese’s care since he was 8 weeks old. Since then, she’s noticed him with a scratch.
“They said they would look into the video,” she said. “I come back from work to pick him up. ‘Oh, that’s not on the video. There’s no video.’”
The first-time mom said on other occasions Henry came home with bruises and a bit of a black eye.
“At the time in my thinking, yeah he could’ve just grabbed the toy and hit himself,” she thought.
After another mother complained about bruises on her child, police investigated and arrested Wiese Monday for injury to a child. The next day, Henry’s mother was contacted by Montessori management, Child Protective Services and police. She said she was asked to watch video footage from the daycare to identify her son.
“It was her slapping the back of his head. But that’s all I wanted to watch,” Henry’s mother said. “I can’t watch any more than that. It was pretty, pretty rough.”
An arrest warrant affidavit states that Wiese was caught on camera slapping Henry, “causing him to cry out in pain,” and then “slamming his head into the changing table” and finally covering his face “pressing down, crushing [his] face downward.”
Another affidavit states that Wiese was captured on camera that same day injuring another child by “body [slamming]” that baby onto the changing table.
Records reveal Wiese used to work as a labor and delivery nurse in North Texas but she had her license revoked for stealing and using drugs.
Henry and his mother spent part of Thursday at the hospital, getting a full body scan that will tell them whether he has any fractures as a result of her care.
“Just to think that someone has the nerve to hurt an innocent newborn baby,” she said. “I can’t even put into words what should happen to her.”
The daycare said Wiese is no longer an employee.
McKinney police are still wanting to talk to the parents of any children who have been at Joyous Montessori since May 2016.
Arrest affidavits describe daycare workers pulling hair, ears and knocking
WACO, TX – One local daycare worker and her employee have been arrested on allegations of child abuse.
Pepper Jones, who owns Miss Pepper’s Place in Waco, was arrested and charged with six counts of endangering a child and one count of injury to a child.
The daycare is located on 3800 Lasker Avenue. Jones was arrested at 6:20 p.m. Thursday by Waco police.
Brittany “Starr” Hale was also arrested and charged with six counts of injury to a child.
According to the Waco Police Department, the victims in these cases were all children between the ages of 10 months and 2-years-old.
“You put your children in care of others as a necessity and unfortunately things like this can occur. Again this is a shock this community,” Sgt. Patrick Swanton said.
Jones’ bond was set at $21,000, but bonded out. Hale was held on a $24,000 bond before bonding out.
The investigation is still on-going, and Jones and Hale could face additional charges.
Jones is also the co-founder of No Limitations Athletics, a ministry of the Central United Methodist Church in Waco. No Limitations Athletics provides the special needs community a chance to play sports.
News Channel 25 obtained 12 arrest affidavits, warrants and complaints related to the incident.
One affidavit said that Jones called one child’s mother saying something was wrong with the child’s shoulder. She said the child had been injured during a wrestling incident with another child.
However, after reviewing the video, police said that the child was not injured during the wresting incident. The affidavit said after a nine minute window where the child is not seen, the child returns holding his arm, and his demeanor had changed.
Another affidavit said one victim was sitting on the floor, and Hale forcibly grabbed the victim by the head and pulled the victim forward on the floor.
Another affidavit said that the another victim was playing, and Hale grabbed her by her pigtail to move her. The victim fell to her knees in this incident, so Hale held on to her hair until the girl put a toy away.
Katie Van Antwerp, the aunt of the toddler in question, said this week, the mother learned about the incident involving her child, which she said surfaced after detectives reviewed additional footage from the daycare.
“She was team Pepper all the way. Finding out the news, it was shocking and devastating to her because you would’ve never thought it,” Van Antwerp said.
She added this daycare had a waiting list because parents trusted Jones.
“The parents will not forget. The kids have a chance of not knowing what happened here but the parents are going to live with it forever and I hate that for them. No parent deserves that,” Van Antwerp said.
Another incident described another child playing with a toy when Hale grabbed the victim by the ear and brought her to the opposite side of the room to put the toy away. The affidavit said video shows the victim wincing in pain.
Another separate incident describes Hale hitting the same victim that dislocated his shoulder on the butt. The victim goes to return a toy and sits down next to the toy bin. Before the victim can put the toy away, Hale grabs him on both sides of his head, pulling him off the floor to make him stand.
One incident said Hale knocked a child off a bench and onto the floor. The affidavit said Hale used enough force to cause the victim’s head to snap back as she falls to the floor.
One affidavit said Hale grabbed the 10-month-old victim by the arm from the floor and forcefully sat her down. In the video, the 10 month old falls backwards, and Hale forcefully grabs the victim’s left hand to snap the child’s head back up with force.
According to the Department of Family Protective Services, a representative from Miss Pepper’s Place told the Childcare Licensing, the daycare will not reopen and will return its license. At this point, DFPS has not received confirmation whether it was returned. The daycare has been licensed since 2013 and it had a capacity of serving 12 children, according to DPFS.
Jones’ attorney, Seth Sutton, sent out this statement:
“Pepper Jones has a long history of serving the kids of the Waco community, especially those with disabilities. We take any allegation of child injury very seriously and have already begun working with authorities to ensure a proper outcome to this situation. I ask that you respect the family’s privacy. We won’t have any further comment until after I’ve had an opportunity to review the relevant evidence in the case.”
No Limitations Athletics released a statement Friday evening:
“No Limitations Athletics is aware of the allegations against one of our co-founders who, in addition to being a founder, has been one of the most active volunteers and most ardent advocates for our community. She has, in the best interest of our organization, resigned effective immediately. She will have no involvement with No Limitations Athletics pending the resolution of this matter.”