by: Karla Ray Updated:
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - An upscale day care has brokered a deal with the Department of Children and Families to stay open, despite failing to properly screen a teacher who is now being sued for alleged sex abuse.
“To hear that something so minimal was inflicted on them, to me, I think everybody should be upset,” the mother behind one of those lawsuits told 9 Investigates.
Bright Horizons of Baldwin Park will pay a total of $700 in fines and will be on probation for the next six months. DCF initially wanted to close the facility for 90 days.
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A DCF investigation uncovered allegations of improper background screenings on former employee Jayrico Hamilton, who is listed in two civil lawsuits which claim he sexually abused kids while working at Bright Horizons.
“That's what I'm disgusted about, because you couldn't be more negligent, as far as I'm concerned,” the mother said. Her son is listed as a ‘John Doe’ in the lawsuit, and Channel 9 is not naming her in order to protect the victim’s identity.
That boy is now in weekly therapy.
“The people making these negotiations, they're not living it. They're not seeing their kids hurt. They're not having to take time out of their day to drive their kid, with damage, who has been hurt and harmed, to go get better. They're not living it,” the victim’s mother said.
DCF’s investigation shows a proper background check on Hamilton would have revealed an arrest history in another state related to a bomb threat and separate incident of assault. The lawsuits also claim that another Bright Horizons teacher’s concerns about Hamilton were brushed off by administrators at the facility.
“You wonder why these things happen, and then you look at the consequences that are being given to businesses like that, for clearly negligently hiring somebody that ended up hurting and harming children. To have such a small consequence, it seems to me, I can’t imagine it’s going to do much to protect kids in the future,” the mother said.
9 Investigates reached out to a Bright Horizons spokesperson about the settlement but has not heard back.
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