Ludlow daycare closes after new allegations of abuse

LUDLOW, Ky. - The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services issued an Emergency Suspension of Mustard Seeds Childcare's daycare license.

This comes less than one week after a former employee told police she secured a child to the floor with duct tape.

An attorney for Mustard Seeds Childcare confirmed Tuesday morning that the Ludlow location is no longer in operation.  However, the company's other child care facilities in Covington and Florence remain open.

According to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, on January, 6 a daycare worker grabbed a two-year-old child by the face/chin and yelled at the child.  When the child care center was informed of these incidents no immediate corrective action was taken.

The language in the suspension notice sent to the day care's director, Emily Berkemeier, is quite harsh:

Effective immediately, your license to operate Mustard Seeds Child Care is suspended pursuant to KRS 199.896, KRS 13B. 125 and 922 KAR 2:090. This suspension is being issued as a result of your failure to protect the health, safety, and welfare of children in your care.

In a statement issued to 9 News on behalf of Mustard Seeds, Patrick Crowley of Strategic Advisers LLC, stated that a daycare worker "held a child's chin when speaking to him."

The statement said that Mustard Seeds did not believe this was a reportable event under Kentucky Administrative Regulations.

It was Wednesday, Jan. 25, when Alicia Lyons, 20, was arrested after she admitted to taping the then 18-month-old child to a mat, on his stomach, to calm the boy during nap time. The incident happened in October, but wasn't investigated until a fellow worker recently told the mother of the victim who then contacted police.

The company said Lyons initially denied the allegation, but later admitted to the incident. Day care officials fired Lyons then notified police as well as Kentucky Office of the Inspector General, the state office in charge of regulating day care facilities.

Lyons was released from the Kenton County Jail after posting a $2,500 bond on Thursday, Jan. 26. She was arraigned on a felony criminal abuse charge on Friday, Jan. 27 and faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

The company is appealing the state's decision to issue an emergency suspension. Most of the parents whose children attended the Ludlow location are now taking their children to the company's other two locations, according to the owners.

Mustard Seeds also confirmed Tuesday afternoon that the company is also investigating a claim that another worker held a child's chin when speaking to him on Friday, Jan. 6. The company said while they do not believe this was a reportable event under Kentucky administrative regulations, they are cooperating with officials regarding this incident as well.

Lyons had been an employee with Mustard Seeds since Aug. 18, 2011, and passed all background checks required under state law, according to the company.

The owners of the day care said they are cooperating fully with police and state officials and will take actions to ensure such allegations do not occur in the future.

The company, which has been in business for three years, has said this is an unfortunate, yet isolated incident.

Stay with 9 News, WCPO.com and KyPost.com for updates.

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