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Cincinnati day care worker accused of assaulting 1-year-old

Worker accused of pulling toddler's hair out
Small Kids Adventures Learning Center day care on Glenway Avenue
Posted at 11:50 AM, Mar 14, 2022

CINCINNATI — A day care worker in Cincinnati is accused of assaulting a toddler earlier this month in West Price Hill.

Court documents say surveillance video captured Kristian Hemmitt grabbing a 1-year-old by the hair and forcing the toddler's head to the ground at Small Kids Adventure Learning Center II on Glenway Avenue March 3.

Investigators say Hemmitt pulled the toddler up by the hair, preventing her feet from touching the ground. Then, Hemmit walked 10 feet while performing a "push-pull" motion with the toddler's hair clenched in her closed fists.

According to court documents, the toddler suffered multiple scalp injuries visible in person and on recorded footage following the assault. Investigators said Hemmitt caused serious physical harm to the toddler resulting in the toddler needing the ER.

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Investigators said Hemmitt attempted to alter the toddler's appearance to avoid detection of the assault. Court documents also allege Hemmitt tried to dispose of evidence of the assault in a trash can.

"How could a human being be so comfortable doing a child like that?" asked Keyasha Prather.

Prather pulled her child from the daycare in 2021 after she said she suspected Hemmitt was abusing the infant who was one at the time.

"She had a busted lip," said Prather. "(Hemmitt) said she fell off the changing table. Not sure how a 1-year-old fell off a changing table, but that was the story we got."

She said she reported suspicions to the day care owner but never heard back.

Inspection reports through Ohio Job and Family Services show two complaints against the day care occurring in 2020. In one case, someone accused an employee of yelling at children and using inappropriate words. Another complaint claimed children were not properly supervised.

The day care owner's attorney, Carl Lewis, said in each case, the owners ensured workers completed corrective training, and the daycare is currently listed as in compliance with regulations.

In the most recent case, Lewis said the owner immediately notified police once she saw surveillance footage.

"I can tell you from the heart this day care owner loves children, loves her company. She's in touch with the parent right now, and she’s in tears. It’s just devastating to see this. And quite candidly, it was discovered because we were trying to see where the injuries came from, thought it maybe been another child playing, and when it appeared on the screen, my client about passed out," said Lewis.

Hemmitt is facing charges of assault, two counts of tampering with evidence and two counts of endangering children.

She appeared in court Monday morning. She is currently in the Hamilton County Jail on a $130,000 bond.

Hemmitt's next court date is March 22. WCPO 9News is waiting to hear back from her attorney, Richard Wendel, II.