A 10-year-old boy has been arrested for sexually abusing younger children at Grandma's House Child Care Center and three employees have also been arrested for failing to report the allegations of abuse to authorities. The boy has been charged with two counts of indecency with a child.
The authorities say that on January 23, a 4-year-old girl reported being sexually assaulted by the older boy. Police spoke with her and her family and determined that the abuse happened on January 21 at the daycare.
While investigating the first allegation, officials discovered another 8-year-old victim who said she was sexually abused at the daycare in November 2018. During the investigation into the second allegation, the victim told police that Daycare director Amanda Tatum told her she was "in trouble" for reporting the abuse. The victim says Tatum also accused her of "lying" and said she was "dreaming" the abuse and that it did not really happen.
Police questioned the staff and owners of Grandma's Day Care on January 31. Owners Stella and Douglas Coats admitted to being aware of the allegations of abuse. Police say Stella Coats told investigators she did not report the abuse because she did not believe the victim. Douglas Coats also admitted to being told about the allegations but failed to report them.
Amanda Tatum, Douglas Coats, and Stella Coats were all arrested and charged with professional failure to report sexual abuse.
According to records from Texas Health and Human Services, Grandma's House Child Care Center has been cited for 18 deficiencies since the daycare opened in 2016. Seven of those deficiencies were considered high risk, including violations like slapping children's hands and forcing them to do wall squats as punishment.
After spending several years as a prosecutor, attorney Marc Lenahan represents survivors of sexual abuse in civil cases. Here is some insight from Marc on the legal options available to families affected by sexual abuse in daycares and preschools:
It goes without saying that the safety needs to be the top priority for any childcare provider. But unfortunately, far too many daycares and preschools fail to keep the children under their watch safe. This has even resulted in cases of children being sexually abused by staff members, intruders, and other children. Along with prosecuting the abuser in these cases, it's also important to determine if the daycare's negligence resulted in a failure to prevent child abuse.
For example, a daycare might be considered negligent for the abuse of children under their care if they failed to report allegations of sexual abuse to the authorities in a timely manner or failed to run a background check before hiring a new employee who had a history of sexual abuse.
In cases that involve negligence, the victims and their families may have grounds for a lawsuit against the daycare.
If you suspect that your child has become a victim of daycare sexual abuse, it's important to contact law enforcement immediately. However, your legal options don't end with the criminal justice system. To learn more about how your family can find justice by filing a lawsuit, you can contact one of our experienced sexual abuse survivors attorneys for a free consultation.