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Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office working with CPD to determine number of abuse allegations at West Price Hill day care

Small Kids Adventures Learning Center day care on Glenway Avenue
Posted at 6:12 PM, Mar 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-31 18:12:43-04

CINCINNATI — A former child care worker is scheduled to be back in court for an arraignment Friday after police said she assaulted a 1-year-old at Small Kids Adventures Learning Center II in West Price Hill.

Police arrested Kristian Hemmitt March 12. Court documents say she was caught on camera abusing the child, at one point, lifting her off the ground by her hair until her feet could no longer touch the floor.

WCPO obtained Ohio Department of Job and Family Services records Wednesday in which police say that case has led to the discovery of more abuse.

RELATED | JFS, police: Surveillance footage shows multiple employees harm children at Cincinnati day care

The document said video from one classroom Feb. 10 shows a worker "...hitting a child with a toy, causing the child to fall backward; smack a child; grab a child by the front neck/throw child down to carpet; slam a child's hand in the door; hit (a) child in head with dustpan; grab two children by the back of the neck/drop them to the floor; throw a kid in a toy bin; slam a child to the floor; push a child's head down; and make a child sit in a feeding table for more than 1.5 hours."

Katherine Jett said her 2-year-old and 3-year-old attended the center in February.

“I want to see the videos,” Jett said. “I want to know if either of my children are on that video. Yes, that’s very important to me, and it’s very concerning.”

JFS said detectives are reviewing surveillance video from Feb. 10 to March 10 at this time. The document says "...based on one day of footage it appears that numerous children were harmed and multiple staff members were observed harming children."

The day care contacted case workers one day after seeing surveillance footage of Hemmitt dragging the child, per JFS. Investigators substantiated the abuse March 10, then law enforcement picked up the case and pursued criminal charges.

By March 24, records show police contacted JFS investigators regarding additional concerns of abuse based on video footage. JFS then suspended the day care's license, ordering the owner to cease operations by 6 p.m. Tuesday.

This is not the first time parents said the center had to shut down. Chandra Knott said she recalls what it was like when JFS shut the child care center down in 2018.

“(Workers) had called me while I was at work and stated they had to close their doors,” Knott said. “And, immediately, I was just crying.”

WCPO is waiting to receive more information on why the day care shut down at that time. We are also waiting to hear from the attorney representing the owner, Carl Lewis.

After the initial arrest, he spoke on behalf of the owner.

"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," Lewis said. "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 may be been another child playing, and when it appeared on the screen, my client about passed out."

The toddler’s mother asked for privacy but told WCPO she thought the owner did everything she could.

"It’s my worst nightmare, truly,” the mother said. “I was giving her a bath that night, and a lot of hair began to fall out. So, both my husband and I inspected her, and that's when we brushed her hair back and saw a giant bald patch. And, immediately, we called the day care."

JFS said the day care has the right to appeal the findings that led to the shutdown.

Cincinnati day care worker accused of assaulting 1-year-old
Day care's license suspended after employee accused of assaulting 1-year-old