Two former baby care employees have been arrested in South Dakota the place authorities suspect they abused a number of of the kids of their care, typically slamming the toddlers down on mats throughout nap time and stepping on them as they slept, PEOPLE confirms.
At a information convention on Saturday following the Friday arrests, Sam Clemens of the Sioux Falls police detailed the accusations in opposition to Teresa Gallagher, 31, and 22-year-old Kenedi Wendt, who each labored at Little Blessings Studying Middle in Sioux Falls.
Gallagher and Wendt, who had been fired in February after they grew to become the topic of investigation, are every charged with 25 counts of abuse or cruelty to a minor, however neither has had an opportunity to enter pleas in court docket.
Data on their legal professionals, if any, was additionally unavailable as of Tuesday morning. They’re every held in lieu of $25,000 bond and can seem in court docket later Tuesday for arraignment.
Clemens mentioned on Sunday that detectives began trying into the ladies as a result of a mother or father contacted Sioux Falls police after their son instructed them one of many girls allegedly banged his head on a mat as he was sleeping.
Earlier than lengthy, police realized from different Little Blessings dad and mom that their youngsters complained about nap time, Clemens mentioned.
“The youngsters didn’t like nap time,” he instructed reporters, noting investigators thought that was regarding. However “all of it made sense” after investigators analyzed safety video from the middle, which captured a lot of the alleged abuse.
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Clemens mentioned within the footage, the kids — who had been ages three and four — “seemed to be sleeping” when the 2 defendants would allegedly stroll up and “decide up the youngsters a number of toes off the bottom” and slam them onto their sleeping mats.
At different occasions, Gallagher and Wendt allegedly may very well be seen within the surveillance video yanking youngsters by the arms and stepping on them — all as they slept.
Generally, Clemens mentioned, the toddlers had their heads “banged round.”
“It was powerful to determine why this was happening,” Clemens mentioned. “All of it appeared to be occurring simply because.”
Nothing in any of the footage indicated any of the kids had misbehaved previous to being abused, Clemens mentioned.
In a press release on their Fb web page, the middle’s operator, Volunteers of Americas, Dakotas, mentioned it “instantly positioned” Gallagher and Wendt on depart after a mother or father got here ahead in late February.
Middle officers “investigated the priority, communicated with dad and mom, and reported the matter to the authorities,” in line with the assertion, which added, “Volunteers of America, Dakotas has been offering high quality childcare for practically 100 years in our neighborhood. We proceed to be dedicated to the security and well-being of the kids in our care.”