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Cincinnati day care takes legal step to re-open amid child abuse case

Worker accused of abusing 1-year-old on multiple occasions
Small Kids Adventures Learning Center day care on Glenway Avenue
Posted at 6:32 PM, Apr 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-20 20:40:33-04

CINCINNATI — A Cincinnati child care facility recently connected to claims of abuse is trying to re-open.

Attorney Carl Lewis represents Small Kids Adventures Learning Center Two in West Price Hill. He filed an administrative appeal at the Hamilton County Courthouse Wednesday afternoon, asking a judge to allow the day care to operate while the case is open.

Last month, Ohio Job and Family Services ordered the center to close. That suspension recommendation document said the day care operator fired or put an employee indicted for abuse on charges on administrative leave.

The document said police reported multiple staff members may have harmed numerous children.

Lewis said the day care owner denies any of that, and he has not seen any surveillance video to support it.

“We have no evidence to substantiate what has been alleged here,” said Lewis “That’s not true at all. I believe there was one other allegation against the previous owner, they say, who may have forcefully grabbed a child by the arm. But, again, that evidence, I haven’t seen it.”

The document said investigators also question a situation in which the previous owner grabbed “...a child by one arm and drop the child to the floor."

The day care is not denying accusations that Kristian Hemmitt was caught on camera abusing a one-year-old while working there.

Police arrested her last month. Court documents say she was caught on camera abusing the child and, at one point, lifting her off the ground by her hair until her feet could no longer touch the floor.

The Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office filed another charge against her this week.

"The investigation discovered a second date of mistreatment for this victim, including restraining the child for hours at a time in a crib or high chair, not feeding the victim as she should, knocking her to the ground, dropping the child, and carrying the child by the child’s arm or neck,” said Amy Clausing, public information officer.

Lewis said the day care quickly fired Hemmitt and gave video to investigators.

His appeal to the judge says the day care should not be penalized but rather applauded.

“They have done everything in their power to assist,” said Lewis.

That appeal is pending. Lewis has a hearing with OJFS next month in which he will challenge their shut down in front of a neutral party.

He said more than a dozen parents plan to speak in support of the day care.

WCPO asked the prosecutor's office if more arrests will come from this case. Clausing said investigators do not expect any additional felony charges, but that could change.