Articles Posted in Crimes Against Children

4_ToysIn day care centers throughout Florida including Miami, the children enrolled in the child care facility should be provided with safe and nurturing environment.  It is important for child care providers and workers to have proper training, common sense, and, yes, patience to work with children.  If working with children causing a person stress to the point that a child is hit and struck by a day care center work, that particular worker should be removed from the job, go to jail, and ultimately find a new career.  Working with children is no easy task; however, employment in a child care facility or day care center is a voluntary choice by a day care worker.  As such, no-one is forcing the day care worker to take the position.  Unfortunately, far too many instances of abuse and neglect go unnoticed and unreported.  Parents are kept in the dark and the children in the day care center are often victims without a voice and without the power to stop their abusers.  However, in many other instances, the day care center worker is caught in the act by another co-worker, management, parents, or other children who take that bold step to report the incident and have the conduct addressed. It is clear that day care center workers should use their efforts and abilities to act in the best interest of the children.  It is well known that the care and supervision of a children are not easy tasks; nevertheless, in Florida day care centers, corporal punishment is prohibited.  There is no excuse or defense to the hitting, torturing, and harming of a child enrolled in a day care center by a the very people responsible for caring for the child.

It was reported by various media outlets that a day care center through a private charter school in Miami Beach was the site of the corporal punishment / abuse of children under the care of the child care center.  In particular, a video surveillance camera revealed that a child care worker documented the hitting, twisting of arms, and other abuse of children who were in the 2 to 3 year old age group.  When the abuse originally came to light, no immediate arrests were made.  Then, after a week or so of further investigation by social service and local law enforcement, the day care center worker – Clara Luz Quintero-Gonzalez – was arrested.  For more information regarding these incidents, see Miami, Florida Day Care Center Worker Arrested for Hitting Children Under her Care at the Lincoln Marti Day Care Center.

It should be noted that the criminal prosecution of a day care center worker is not a prerequisite or requirement for a parent to bring a civil action or claim on behalf of a child who was injured or harmed by a day care center provider.  Certainly, it is quite compelling when a day care center worker is arrested following an allegation of abuse or neglect.  Furthermore, having video surveillance that actually documents the alleged abuse or neglect can be used as evidence in the potential criminal case or civil case of abuse / neglect in a day care center.  If there is believed to probable cause that a crime was committed, an arrest can and should be made. The further prosecution of the defendant will depend on the evidence gathered and potential defenses (if any) that may be raised in response to the allegations.  The criminal allegations must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.  For a civil case, the standard of proof is by the preponderance of the evidence with is lesser standard than for a criminal case.

Kids Wooden Blocks Spelling Mom And Dad As Symbol for Parenthood
In the State of Florida, corporal punishment is prohibited in day care centers.  There are strong public policy and safety reasons for having such a law in place.  It does not matter that the teacher of the day care center was subjected to corporal punishment as part of his or her upbringing.  Furthermore, a parent cannot and should consent to the imposition of corporal punishment at a day care center since it is against the law.   Toddlers and small children should learn by instruction and restrictions that DO NOT involve physical harm, pinching, punching, withholding of food, false imprisonment, or other acts that are neglectful and / or malicious in manner.   Because of this, it is important that Florida day care centers are staffed with trained and caring individuals who have the personality, patience, and maturity to deal with the stresses and demands of the job.  Certainly, it is challenging to be a day care center worker or child care provider.   When the stress intensifies, the day care worker / child care worker should step back and assess or reassess his or her current actions, his or next actions, and the rest of the day.

In Quincy, Florida, it was reported that a day care center worker at All My Children Learning Center is facing criminal charges of battery and cruelty to a child.  It was reported that a day care center teacher pinched a 4 year old child under her care to the point that the child was bruised and needed medical attention.
There may be a number of legal cases that result from corporal punishment cases or incidents including the following:

Kids Block Spelling Dad As Symbol for Fatherhood And Parenting
In Florida and other States, day care centers and their staff members are responsible for the safety and well-being of the children enrolled in the day care center.  This responsiblity is truly among the most important in our society.  While the pay is not the highest of all occupations, the responsibilities are nonetheless so important.  Most day care centers and their staff members work conscientiously every day to provide for the needs and educational development of the children. There are, however, a number of Florida Day Care Centers that cut corners, employ less than stellar employers, and sadly abuse the very children that the day care center is paid to supervise and protect.   When a day care center abuses or neglects a child under its care, should the Florida Department of Children and Families step in and revoke the day care center’s license?  There is no simple answer to this question.  Like many other legal questions, the answer is “it depends”.  The Florida Department of Children and Families is responsible for the licensure and supervision of day care centers.  When a child is abused or neglected, it should be reported to and investigagted by the Florida Department of Children and Families.  Day care centers in Florida are governed by the Florida Adminstraive Code and other regulation. There is due process to be followed any time that sanctions are sought to be brought against a licensed day care center.  If the child continues to be in danger or there are other children in immiment danger, immediate action should be taken to close down the day care center – at least on a temporary basis – so that a proper investigation can be completed and there is no further harm done to that child or other children.

Whether the Florida Department of Children and Families takes action to shut down the facility or not, the parents of the injured child can still seek out legal advice and representation for the injured child.  The civil case or claim is not dependent on the DCF investigation and findings.  While it would be helpful to have a DCF report filled with helpful statements, evidence, and findings that a child was neglected or abused at the day care center, the DCF does not control the civil case or claim.

In Polk County, Florida, it was reported that the Cypress Oaks School in Winter Haven continues to operate.  The Florida Department of Children and Families previously investigated the facility and issued a fine to the owner. There were discussions of revoking the license; however, the Florida DCF ultimatley decided to allow the day care center to continue to operate as long as it was operated by a different owner.   You can read more about this story at 9 Investigates – Day Care Center Connected to Abuse Allegations Remains Open. 

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In Florida and other States, it takes a special and caring kind of individual to properly supervise children in a school, summer camp, or day care center setting. Child care providers should be well trained and have that certain personality the exudes patience, love, and common sense. The best interest of the child should be the focal point of the care. For the time period that the day care center worker is on duty, the day care worker’s attention and goodwill should be focused on the job at hand. Unfortunately, children far too often fall victim to a child care provider who lacks the common sense and patience to properly perform the job. Whether it is a pattern of bad conduct or a one time incident, children in day care centers suffer injuries as a result of rough discipline or even worse deliberate corporal punishment. It should be made clear that children are fragile and should be handled with care. They should not be treated in a rough manner that can and does lead to serious personal injuries. When a child is injured at a day care center, a civil case may be pursued on behalf of the injured child. When the facts support a criminal prosecution, the State of Florida may pursue criminal charges against the day care center worker. When a person is arrested for child abuse or neglect whether in a day care center setting or elsewhere, Florida and constitutional law mandate that the Defendant have the benefit of legal representation from a private criminal defense attorney or the local public defender. Yes, a day care center worker charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Furthermore, while reports in newspapers can be quite gripping, the legal case (whether criminal or civil in nature) will have far more details and information than a brief newspaper article. As such, cases – whether civil or criminal – should go through the proper processes and procedures.

A day care center injury was recently reported in Palm Bay Florida in which a day care center workers was arrested for allegedly causing injuries to a 4 year old boy. The incident reportedly took place at Woodlake Child Development Center. The story was reported by WESH Channel 2 News – Orlando, Florida. You can read more about this story at Day Care Center Worker Arrested in Central Florida.

In Florida, day care centers are regulated by Florida Statutes and the Florida Administrative Codes. Licenses and inspections are handled by the Florida Department of Children and Families. It is important for day care centers and the staff members to comply with these laws, the facilitity policy and procedures, and just the necessary common sense that goes hand in hand with providing reasonable and appropriate supervision of children.

education%20school%20day%20care%20black%20chalkboard%20with%20letters%20capital%20and%20small%20letters.jpgIn Florida and other States, day care centers should be safe havens for children. A day care center should be a place where a child is supervised by care providers who understand and appreciate the needs of children. In most instances, a day care center is a supportive and safe environment for children. However, there are facilities where a child has been harmed by the very individuals charged with protecting them. In some instances, it is a family member of the day care center operator or employee. The abuse, neglect, and, yes, sexual assault of a child in a day care center is reported far too often. It is these horrible acts that give a parent pause as to the use of a day care center facility at all. Unfortunately, the acts of the few often times affect the mindset or opinion of others.

When a child is sexually assaulted at a day care center, the actions or inactions of a parent or guardian can have a significant impact on the child. Furthermore, the actions or inactions of a parent or guardian can have a significant impact on a potential criminal investigation or prosecution of a case. If a parent suspects that a child has been harmed at a day care center, a parent can take a number of actions to both protect the child and to prosecute the wrongdoer. In Winter Haven, Florida, it was reported that a 3 year old boy was allegedly molested by a day care operator’s husband. When the mother picked up the boy from the day care center, the mother asked her son a very common question – how was your day? The boy responded by stating that “Mr. Gardner licked my pee pee.”

The mother remained calm and went home with the child where she asked him again about his day and for the child to show his mother on a teddy bar what had happened. Thereafter, the mother took the boy to a local hospital where he was examined and DNA evidence was gathered. Through a criminal investigation and legal intervention, the suspect – Carroll Gardner – was required to provide a DNA sample which matched the sample taken from the boy. Based on the boy’s testimony and DNA evidence gathered, it would appear that there is a strong criminal case against Mr. Gardner. Of course, like other Florida criminal matters, Mr. Gardner will be entitled to representation by a Florida Criminal Defense Attorney or the local Public Defender’s Office.

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Is the Ignorance of the Victim's Age or Bona Belief in the Child's Age a Legal Defense in a Criminal Case for Lewd or Lascivious Battery, Molestation, Conduct or Exhibition? The simple answer to this question is "No".

Section 800.04 (3), Florida Statutes defines the following crimes:

handcuffs%20wide%20view.jpgDuring the school year and summer months, parents must rely on other individuals to care for and supervise their children. Whether it is a day care center, school, neighbor, camp, after school program, youth sports program, friend, relative, or a babysitter, a parent often times needs help caring for a child. Furthermore, it is part of a normal regimen of a child to be around adults, teachers, aides, babysitters, child care providers, and others. On most days, the child is cared for in a supportive environment. Unfortunately, child predators and molesters live or travel to virtually every community in the United States. A child predator or molester will use a position of trust or opportunities of vulnerability to prey on or molest a child.

Section 800.04, Florida Statutes contains some of the Florida law on point when a child is subjected to or exposed to the inappropriate / conduct of the alleged perpetrator. Each part of the statutes (like other laws on point) provide some details and definitions as to the nature of the conduct and the seriousness or level of the crime associated with such conduct.

Section 800.04 (5), Florida Statutes criminalizes Lewd or Lascivious Molestation as:

State%20Map%20Florida.jpgChild predators, molesters, and other intent on harming child to satisfy his or her desires and criminal conduct will use many tricks and schemes to accomplish their goals and missions. Tragically, every year, many children are harmed and sexually battered by the very individuals entrusted with the care and supervision of the children including but not limited to teachers, teacher aides, coaches, mentors, counselors, school workers, day care center workers, child care providers, babysitters and others.

Section 800.04, Florida Statutes contains some of the Florida law on point when a child is subjected to or exposed to the inappropriate / conduct of the alleged perpetrator. Each part of the statutes (like other laws on point) provide some details and definitions as to the nature of the conduct and the seriousness or level of the crime associated with such conduct.

Section 800.04 (4), Florida Statutes criminalizes Lewd or Lascivious Battery as:

Law%20Books%20Statutes%20Regulations.jpgIn home, schools, day care centers, and other locations, children should be cared for in a supportive environment that protects the children and focuses on the health, safety and welfare of the children. These places should be safe havens for children. Unfortunately and, yes, tragically, many children are subjected to just terrible conduct on the part of perpetrators who put their own sordid and vile interests over the safety and well being of the child. Section 800.04, Florida Statutes contains some of the Florida law on point when a child is subjected to or exposed to the inappropriate / conduct of the alleged perpetrator. Each part of the statutes (like other laws on point) provide some details and definitions as to the nature of the conduct and the seriousness or level of the crime associated with such conduct.

Section 800.04 (7), Florida Statutes criminalizes Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition as:

(a) A person who:

law%20book%20on%20table.jpgIn home, schools, day care centers, and other locations, children should be cared for in a supportive environment that protects the children and focuses on the health, safety and welfare of the children. These places should be safe havens for children. Unfortunately and, yes, tragically, many children are injured, molested, and / or harmed in the very environment that should be safety zones or areas for children. Section 800.04, Florida Statutes contains some of the Florida law on point when a child is subjected to or exposed to the inappropriate / conduct of the alleged perpetrator. Each part of the statutes (like other laws on point) provide some details and definitions as to the nature of the conduct and the seriousness or level of the crime associated with such conduct.

Section 800.04 (6), Florida Statutes criminalizes Lewd or Lascivious Conduct as:

(a) A person who: