In July 2022, two children at a West Virginia daycare center experienced the unimaginable: They were sexually abused by another child at the facility. In one instance, daycare workers witnessed the child lick a little boy’s bottom while his pants were pulled down. The workers chose not to report the inappropriate incident to the state, nor did they inform the children’s parents.
On another occasion, a little girl was abused on the playground by the same child, who pulled the girl’s pants down and repeatedly touched her private parts while other children watched and laughed.
Upon discovering that their children were victims of sexual abuse at the daycare center, both sets of parents contacted our experienced daycare injury lawyers at The Button Law Firm to get answers and hold the negligent daycare center in West Virginia accountable. Through a settlement, the families received the tools help cover medical costs and long-term psychotherapy to help the children cope and heal from their significant emotional trauma. The children suffered stress-related disorders caused by the sexual abuse, including regressive behaviors, and mimicking the inappropriate sexual behaviors toward toys and siblings.
How Child-on-Child Sexual Abuse Happened at a West Virginia Daycare Center
Like all good parents, the ones in this case wanted the best daycare center for their children and selected the West Virginia facility because they believed it would keep their children safe. However, the daycare center clearly failed to deliver on safety promises when another child was able to inappropriately touch and sexually abuse these two children on separate occasions.
To ensure facilities are providing a safe environment for children, West Virginia has strict childcare laws, known as minimum standards, through the Department of Health and Human Resources. As part of these requirements, daycare centers are required to:
- Ensure children have adequate supervision at all times,
- Provide clear sightlines for staff supervision of children,
- Ensure staff are aware of a child’s behavioral issues,
- Delegate a staff member to inform a child’s parents when there is a pattern of unacceptable behavior,
- Take action following a child’s inappropriate behavior.
Incidents of sexual abuse at daycare centers are easily preventable when caregivers follow state-mandated minimum standards and properly supervise children throughout the facility, including playground areas. Along with close supervision of children, daycare centers are responsible for training their staff to recognize when a child’s behavior is inappropriate, such as removing the clothing of another child, touching and groping of a sexual nature, and speaking in an explicit and adult-like manner. Daycare centers must be sure to have protocols in place to address incidents of criminal behavior immediately, such as those in this West Virginia case.
Sadly, this West Virginia daycare center failed these innocent children and their parents. In the first instance of sexual abuse, the daycare workers watched another child victimize his classmate yet chose not to follow escalation protocols by reporting it to the state or the child’s parents. In the second instance of abuse involving the little girl, the daycare’s workers neglected to properly supervise the children on the playground, opting instead to sit in the shade, where they did not have a proper sightline to parts of the playground.
A West Virginia Daycare Center’s Track Record of Supervision Failures
Plain and simple: Proper supervision could have stopped and prevented these children from being victims of sexual abuse at the daycare center in West Virginia. However, these two incidents were not isolated.
A deeper dive into its safety record found the daycare center had more than 22 citations from the state for failing to comply with various laws, including failure to properly supervise children, in the five years leading up to the sexual abuse incidents of this case. Citations ranged from the daycare center leaving children on the playground, failing to ensure children were accounted for, failing to supervise children during a fire drill, and staff not completing mandatory child abuse recognition and prevention training.
This daycare center’s history of negligence, specifically related to closely watching the children in its care, indicates child safety was not a priority for the facility or its workers.
Free Resources to Help Parents and Child Victims of Sexual Abuse
Like the children and families involved in this case, survivors of sexual abuse can be traumatized and require long-term resources to properly heal. We’ve created the following free resources to help guide families through the aftermath of sexual abuse at daycare centers:
- Potential Signs of Sexual Abuse in Daycare Centers
- How to Tell if Your Child is Being Sexually Abused at Daycare
- Child Sexual Abuse Lawyers in Texas
- Five Steps to Take If Your Child Was Sexually Abused at Daycare
How The Button Law Firm Can Help Your Family After Sexual Abuse at a Daycare Center
Our team of experienced and compassionate daycare injury attorneys at The Button Law Firm is dedicated to advocating for you and your family if your child was sexually abused at a daycare center, school, or camp. We are ready to listen and fight to help your family get justice and move forward. Our attorneys at The Button Law Firm are recognized on the prestigious Texas Super Lawyers list, and we can help guide you after a traumatizing incident like sexual abuse involving your child. We work on contingency, meaning we don’t charge you or collect any upfront fees to get started on your case. Call us at 214-699-4409 or fill out a contact form for a free consultation.