License suspended after sexual abuse allegations at Baldwin Park day care

Bright Horizons ordered to pay $2,500 fine

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Department of Children and Families on Wednesday suspended the license of a Baldwin Park day care after a teacher assistant at the school was accused of inappropriately touching three young boys.

Bright Horizons will have its license suspended for 90 days and officials there have been ordered to pay a $2,500 fine.

DCF officials said day care administrators did not conduct a proper background check before hiring the teacher assistant in September 2016. If that check had been done, it would have found that the man had a history of abuse in Virginia, according to the DCF report.

News 6 is not naming the man because he has not been charged with a crime.

The report said the first allegation of sexual abuse was filed May 16 and since then, two other children have also accused the preschool teacher assistant of inappropriate sexual contact.

"In addition to the above child victims other children reported concerns with inappropriate behaviors of (the man). One child reported that (the man) would kiss him while he used the bathroom. Another child reported that (the man) looked at him 'too good' and would constantly touch his hair," the report said.

A co-worker described the man as being "obsessive" toward one student and raised concerns with the day care's human resources department, the DCF investigation found.

Since the allegations first came to light, two families have filed lawsuits against the day care. The accused employee has been fired and the facility's director has been placed on leave.

Bright Horizons Child Care and Learning Center has 21 days to request an administrative hearing to contest DCF's findings. If no such request is made, Bright Horizons must pay the $2,500 fine within 30 days. The day care's operators told News 6 they plan to stay open during that time.

Bright Horizon sent News 6 a statement, saying in part, "We have new leadership at the center, and our dedicated teachers remain focused on maintaining solid learning environments and providing exceptional care for children."

Parents who News 6 spoke with leaving the day care said they had no idea about the suspension, and it turns out the school just found out too.

"You worry obviously, but when you see people making changes the way they do business, you're happy with these things and it's a great school. We've never had any problems with it before," parent Donny Hodges said.

News 6 spoke to the lawyer representing two families in this case, and he said it's rare for the state to get involved.

"As you can imagine, my clients are -- I don't want to say shocked, but they're so disappointed that of all the things alleged Bright Horizons failed to do to protect their kids. They hired him ignoring red flags," lawyer Jeff Herman said. "It's every parent's worst nightmare to have their child sexually abused, but then to see that it could've been prevented, it's beyond frustrating."

The Orlando Police Department said Wednesday that there no updates in the department's investigation.

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