Day care worker fired, director on leave after allegations of child sex abuse

Bright Horizons received warning in April following inspection

By Troy Campbell - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - An Orlando child care facility told News 6 on Monday that an employee has been fired after allegations of sex assault. The victim is described as being of preschool age.

Bright Horizons Child Care and Learning Center in Baldwin Park on Monday evening held an emergency meeting for concerned parents. The facility said its director has been placed on leave.

Leslie, who didn't want to give her last name, said she withdrew her two sons from the school.

"They had a therapist there trying to explain to us, you know, on how to handle our children and my thing was well, when there's damage done that a kid could live with with the rest of their lives, you know, it's fine and dandy that you guys are here trying to tell us how to talk to our kids, but this should have never happened in the first place," Leslie said.

In a letter sent home to parents, the day care said the Florida Department of Children and Families came to the center on Friday and made them aware of the allegations of sexual battery. The day care is not releasing the person's name. The letter also said three other students were interviewed by state investigators.

"We were shocked and troubled to learn about this investigation," Bright Horizons said in a statement. "Our most important responsibility is to ensure the wellbeing and safety of the children in our care, and we will do whatever we can to support the child involved and their family. The teacher has been terminated and we will continue to help CPS as they look into what may have happened. We will continue to communicate with our families at the center throughout this process, and remain focused on providing children and families with exceptional care and ensuring that our staff has additional resources."

A communications representative with the school said the teacher had been at the school since September 2016, but officials wouldn't comment further as to when they were notified of the complaint or why the director was placed on leave.

News 6 uncovered that the same employee under investigation pleaded guilty to misdemeanor calling in a bomb threat in the state of Virginia in 2013.

According to the Florida Department of Children and Families website, an inspection of the facility in April issued a warning to the day care for failing to complete background checks on employees every five years.

A representative with DCF said a charge that would negate a successful background check typically involves a felony. 

Bright Horizons said the former employee under investigation was cleared by the state of Florida to work in child care.

Security guards have also been hired at the day care in the event the terminated employee returns.

Orlando police did not release any further details other than confirming that there is an active investigation at the facility.

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