Former Orlando VPK teacher charged with sexual battery, child abuse

Baldwin Park child care center first investigated in June 2017

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando police say they arrested a former Baldwin Park VPK teacher on charges of sexual battery Tuesday, months after the alleged abuse took place.

Jayrico Jayrice Hamilton, 25, was a former teacher at Bright Horizons Child Care and Learning Center.

Hamilton is charged with sexual battery on a victim under 12, lewd or lascivious molestation, lewd or lascivious conduct and child abuse, officials with the Orlando Police Department said.

The VPK center first came under fire in June when allegations surfaced that three preschool-age children had been sexually abused by Hamilton.

Voluntary prekindergarten, known as VPK,  and is a state-funded Florida program that allows parents of 4 and 5 year olds to enroll their children for free prekindergarten at qualified facilities. Read more about VPK instructor requirements here.

A lawsuit filed by the parents of a 4-year-old boy alleges that an employee at the VPK school sexually abused the boy.

A teacher assigned to the accused employee's classroom also reported concerns that he was "grooming" a boy for sexual abuse, according to the lawsuit.

The lawyer for the family told News 6 in June the suspected employee follows at least 100 toddler-aged Instagram models and his account is public. If Bright Horizons had conducted a background check and searched his social media accounts this would have been apparent to them, according to the lawsuit.

In November, the Department of Children and Families ordered the child care facility to pay $700 in fines, among other things, as part of a lawsuit settlement stemming from allegations of sexual abuse at the day care. The pre-school's license was also suspended for 90 days.

DCF officials said the department's investigation found that the day care did not perform a proper background check before hiring the employee last year and that administrators should have heeded warnings from other employees about the man's inappropriate behavior.

Bright Horizons reached a settlement agreement with DCF while still denying the allegations made in the lawsuit.

On Tuesday after Hamilton's arrest, the lawyer for one of the alleged victims released a statement on behalf of the family.

"The arrest is an important step for this brave young boy’s path to justice," Attorney Jeff Herman said. "The family thanks the Orlando Police Department for all of their hard work in this important matter.” 

Hamilton was booked into the Orange County Corrections Facility at 2:47 p.m. Tuesday.

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