UPDATE: Fall out from day care arrests, state suspends center license

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UPDATE POSTED 7 P.M. JAN. 21, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The fall out continues for a day care center from alleged abuse and non-reporting by four staff members.

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Eagle Creek Learning Academy notified parents Thursday it is closed until “further notice”  under an order from state licensing investigators who suspended the center’s license.

“We have been open for 25 years and have provided excellent care for thousands of children,” owners Scott Elliott and Lori Lawson said in a letter to parents.

“We will be working diligently to restore our license and submit plans of correction to enable us to resume the life-long endeavor,” they said, noting they don’t know how long the process will take. They also said they will refund money to parents who have paid in advance and have a credit.

ORIGINAL STORY POSTED 4:45 P.M. WEDNESDAY, JAN. 20, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Three Lexington daycare workers have been charged with

Samantha Ayers/Fayette County Detention Center
Jazzmine Leshea Webb/Fayette County Detention Center

causing physical harm to toddlers. And a fourth has been charged with failing to report the incidents.

And owners of the day care center are cooperating, turning over video evidence that helped lead to the arrests.

The Lexington Police Department arrested 32-year-old Samantha Ayers, 24-year-old Maurisa Sweat, and 20-year-old Jazzmine Webb on charges

Maurisa Makalynn Sweat/Fayette County Detention Center

of first-degree criminal abuse.

The fourth woman, 40-year-old Terri Thompson is charged with second-degree criminal abuse and failure to report known abuse.

Ayers, Sweat, and Webb were teachers in the 1-year-olds classroom at the Eagle Creek Learning Academy/Kids R Kids childcare center in Lexington, and Thompson was the center director.

An investigation was launched earlier this month by Lexington Police and the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services after a family noticed bruising on their child. The investigation found evidence of multiple instances of daycare staff treating children in a physical and unsafe manner.

The suspects are housed in the Fayette County Detention Center.

In a statement, Eagle Creek Learning Academy said it worked with authorities as soon as the suspicions were reported Jan. 7. The center, which has been open 25 years, issued the following statement:

“A parent reported that their child received bruises on their arm when they went home from our center on 1/7/21. All teachers in that classroom and the director were terminated for not reporting this to owners or licensing immediately. After reviewing the video, we found that the teacher was mishandling children in that classroom on that day. Owners have been working closely with the LPD and CPS by providing video and other information to assist them in their investigation.

“This center has been open for almost 25 years. We have processes, including background checks, and procedures in place to mitigate the risk of something like this from happening. Additionally, we have 2 teachers in the room so that the integrity of one serves as a backstop against the bad intentions of another. And if the integrity of both are compromised, we have cameras so that the “eye in the sky” will always be there to remind teachers that their actions are being watched. The video also serves to remind them that if they do transgress , there will be video evidence of it. This video is now being used against them.

“Our #1 priority is the safety of the children in our care. Although it is difficult to prevent the criminal actions of an employee with malicious intent at the time of the action, we can and have and will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that the perpetrators receive justice.”