An early childhood aide at the Harrington Head Start Center has been arrested for allegedly sexually abusing at least two young girls in May at the center. 27-year-old Timothy K. McCrary is charged with three counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a child by a person of trust and one count of unlawful sexual contact where the victim is younger than 13.
Police began investigating allegations of abuse in May after the mother of a 5-year-old girl who attended the center told police that her daughter told her not to wash her private parts because McCrary "rubs lotion on her there daily during nap time at school."
Harrington Police met this mother at a hospital. Police interviewed the child, who told them that McCrary would sit next to her while she was trying to nap in the school's classroom and place his hands underneath her clothing.
Investigators reportedly discovered evidence of a second victim while reviewing surveillance footage from May 19. According to court documents, they saw McCrary in the classroom as children were preparing for nap time. A teacher was sitting next to McCrary, who was sitting next to a 4-year-old girl.
Investigators say that when the teacher walked away, McCrary slid his hands under the girl's blanket and his hands could be seen moving underneath the blanket. When the teacher returned, McCrary reportedly brought his hand out from underneath the blanket. Court documents say the girl was sexually abused eight different times within a 42-minute period.
The Department of Family Services conducted a civil investigation with the police department to determine if McCrary should be added to the Child Protection Registry, which would ban him from working with children or in any healthcare position.
McCrary was arrested at his home on Friday by Harrington and Delaware State Police. He is being held after failing to post $235,000 cash bail.
This investigation is ongoing. Parents who suspect that their child may be a victim and others with related information have been asked to contact the Harrington Police Department at (302) 398-4493, ext. 12.
Attorney contributor Phil Edwards helps families who have been affected by sexual abuse find justice through civil lawsuits. Here are a few thoughts from Phil regarding the legal options available to daycare sex abuse victims and their families:
Childcare, education, and other fields where adults work with kids are often targeted by sexual predators. The individuals who run daycares, schools, and other similar institutions must be aware of the dangers these predators pose and do everything they can to keep the children under their watch safe.
Many cases of child sex abuse are preventable and only occur due to the negligence of a third party, such as a daycare or school. For example, these third parties might be considered negligent for inadequate supervision or a failure to run a background check before hiring a new employee. Another common example is a failure to report allegations of sexual misconduct to law enforcement in a timely manner.
Child sex abuse victims and their families may have grounds for a lawsuit in cases where third-party negligence resulted in a failure to prevent or stop the abuse.
If your child has been sexually abused at a daycare or school, you can learn more about your family's legal options by speaking with an experienced sex abuse survivors lawyer.