The Florida Department of Children and Families, DCF, has filed an Administrative Complaint suspending the facility’s license for 90 days and imposing a $2,500 fine. This is after conducting an investigation into multiple sex abuse allegations against a former Teacher Assistant at Bright Horizons, Baldwin Park.
DCF found Bright Horizons failed to conduct the required background check of the now former employee hired in September, 2016. He was hired for the “Preschool 3” classroom. An email sent by the then Director to parents welcoming the new Teaching Assistant stated, “[The employee] was originally hired back in August for this classroom, but due to changes in DCF background screening laws in Florida and a compounded factor of coming from out-of-state the process took a long time.” However, when DCF looked into the personnel file on the accused teacher, documentation of the reference checks and the abuse registry checks were missing. The director admitted the facility never conducted either. The director has been placed on leave.
According to the complaint, the investigation also revealed that other co-workers reported “numerous red flags” regarding the actions of the accused assistant. One co-worker reported concerns of obsessions and favoritism by the assistant of one victim. These reports were made directly to the assistant director, director and Human Resources department of Bright Horizons. The teacher who voiced her concerns was then removed to another classroom leaving the students vulnerable to the assistant’s sexual advances.
News 6 Orlando spoke with parents leaving the daycare who stated they were unaware of the license suspension.
Herman Law represents two families in the case against the accused Teacher Assistant. As News 6 quotes:
“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.”
Bright Horizons has 21 days to request a hearing to contest the findings by DCF.
For the Article by WKMG News 6 ClickOrlando: www.clickorlando.com
For information regarding the charges against the former Teacher Assistant please see: Herman Law Blog – July 19, 2017
For the Administrative Complaint filed by DCF: Bright Horizons at Baldwin Park – Admin Complaint