ELLICOTT CITY, MD — In 2019, the households of 5 youngsters aged four and 5 attended the Glen Mar Early Studying Heart, an extension of the Glen Mar United Methodist Church in Ellicott Metropolis. The households believed their youngsters have been secure there, however in keeping with a lawsuit filed on behalf of these youngsters, an worker sexually abused them throughout naptime and presumably elsewhere on the facility.
The lawsuit doesn’t listing the worker as a defendant and the employee has not been criminally charged. Courtroom papers implicate the college’s former director, Lynda Celmer, who the households mentioned was conscious of the incidents however did not report the abuse although she was a compulsory reporter. The lawsuit says that Celmer instructed the households who reported the worker’s actions that she would notify legislation enforcement and droop the suspected abuser, however she didn’t. The truth is, the lawsuit claims that Celmer had been knowledgeable of a unique incident of abuse by one other sufferer that had occurred throughout the earlier college 12 months involving the identical worker.
The households concerned within the lawsuit are demanding the Howard County Police Division and Maryland Workplace of the State’s Legal professional reopen the case and full an investigation that they are saying to this point has been “superficial and extremely incomplete.”
The police division declined to remark.
The households additionally say the previous worker they’ve named as liable for sexually abusing their youngsters is at massive and free to work in different college environments and has, in truth, been employed elsewhere in one other day care.
Info launched by the legislation agency Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll famous that a minimum of seven youngsters have recounted incidents of sexual abuse on the middle and recognized their abuser. Moreover, different middle employees members noticed the worker behaving inappropriately towards youngsters beneath their blankets throughout naptime, the agency mentioned, and safety footage confirms he acted inappropriately with youngsters.
“Not solely did the Glen Mar Early Studying Heart allow and ignore the sexual abuse of a number of youngsters over two years, however we’re very involved that the legislation enforcement response has been incomplete and insufficient, permitting (the worker) to work in different daycare facilities,” mentioned Michael Dolce, companion at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, which represents the victims. “We don’t perceive why the Howard County legislation enforcement response disregarded such substantial proof, together with video and medical proof, did not pursue extra leads and handled the victims’ dad and mom so poorly. On condition that the protection of kids was and is at stake, we count on a way more vigorous effort by legislation enforcement. These youngsters and their households deserve higher than they’ve gotten to this point, and we hope this may now be taken extra critically.”
Dad and mom have been instructed by the middle that the suspect was faraway from his place, however they weren’t knowledgeable that their youngsters might have been abused, the legislation agency mentioned. The households spoke anonymously, noting that they’re “sickened and upset” at how their youngsters’s statements have been dismissed and no arrests have been made. Within the grievance, it was disclosed that the suspected abuser was commonly left alone with the kids, a violation of the church’s “two grownup rule.”
“We’ve watched our youngster regress and wrestle in methods which have been heartbreaking and terrifying; ways in which professionals have suggested us are in line with the kind of abuse our youngster described. The division is conscious of our kid’s dramatic behavioral adjustments, in addition to our kid’s vivid, detailed assertion concerning the abuse. The division’s failure to analyze, refusal to help the kids and disrespectful dismissal of the dad and mom of reporting youngsters is disgusting and unforgivable,” one guardian mentioned.
The households search damages as a way to assist pay for the prices of medical, psychological and psychiatric analysis and care and drugs; lack of incomes capability and future misplaced earnings; value of transportation to and from well being care suppliers; instructional bills; extra youngster care bills; and the price of parenting and household therapies.
Yolanda Vazquez, exterior affairs director for the Howard County State’s Legal professional’s Workplace, launched an announcement to Patch concerning the lawsuit.
“The Howard County State’s Legal professional’s Workplace totally examined all of the proof within the Glen Mar Early Studying Heart case, together with emails, officers’ notes, greater than 12 hours of videotaped recordings involving greater than 30 witnesses and the viewing of roughly 160 hours of classroom footage. All through the course of our investigation, we met with a guardian of one of many alleged victims, as per their request, and even reopened the case when extra info was offered to us by one other household. We additionally provided to satisfy with the latest complainant’s household to debate our findings, however as our information point out, they’ve chosen to not avail themselves to us presently,” the workplace mentioned. “We perceive and share their issues, however we stand agency in our determination that there was not adequate proof, offered to us, to file any legal costs in opposition to the defendant on this case. If any new info have been to return to mild, we might be greater than keen to totally look at it.”
Kyri Jacobs, president and chief government officer of the agency Bonnie Heneson, which represents the church, instructed Patch that Glen Mar has not obtained a replica of the grievance.
“As that is pending litigation, we can not remark presently,” Jacobs instructed Patch.