2 Daycare Employees Arrested After Allegedly Harming Children

Sioux Falls, S.D. – Disturbing details are emerging about two former employees at a Sioux Falls day care.

They were arrested Friday after a discovery that they allegedly hurt little kids in their care.

Police say it was all caught on camera but that video hasn’t been made public.

“While he was sleeping, the employee had banged his head on the mat.  that’s really what sparked this,” Says Sioux Falls Police Officer, Sam Clemens.

31-year-old Teresa Gallagher and 22-year-old Kenedi Wendt were arrested Friday and each charged with 25 counts of abuse or cruelty of a minor.

Police say they were harming three to four year old children during nap-time at Little Blessings Learning Center in southern Sioux falls.

They’re accused of cruel acts like picking the children up and slamming them on their sleeping mats and stepping on them.

After a child told his parents what happened, police say little blessings and the department of social services looked into the complaint.

They saw surveillance footage of what happened and fired the employees.

“The video was pretty clear but it was tough to figure out why this took place.  All of it seemed to be happening really just kind of because.  Sometimes it was a kid moving slightly.  Sometimes it was they weren’t laying in the proper position that they thought they needed to be laying in,” says Officer Clemens.

DSS contacted police to investigate.

When talking to the children’s parents, a detective found out something suspicious.

“A lot of them mentioned that the kids, and this is all completely separate, but they volunteered that the kids didn’t like nap time.  That seemed a little odd but after he was able to review the video and found what was taking place, it all made sense,” Officer Clemens tells us.

Police say the children complained of backaches and headaches but are not sure if any suffered serious injuries.

The two women are being held on $25,000 dollar bonds.  Their first court appearances are tomorrow.

Little Blessings’ is an extension of Volunteers of America, Dakotas.  They have released the following statement:

At the end of February, 2018, a parent raised a concern to staff at Volunteers of America, Dakotas.  Volunteers of America, Dakotas immediately placed the involved staff on leave, investigated the concern, communicated with parents, and reported the matter to the authorities.   The involved staff are no longer employed by Volunteers of America, Dakotas.  Volunteers of America, Dakotas has been providing quality childcare for nearly 100 years in our community.  We continue to be committed to the safety and well-being of the children in our care.

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