3 women charged in Prattville day care child abuse investigation
AUTAUGA COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - Three women facing felony child abuse charges in an ongoing investigation into a Prattville day care center are now being held at the Autauga County Metro Jail.
Chief Assistant District Attorney C.J. Robinson said Alice Sorrells, Leah Livingston and Susan Baker are each charged with felony child abuse and failure to report child abuse as a mandatory reporter.
The charges are related to an ongoing investigation at Journey Church of the River Region, located on Sheila Boulevard. Robinson said the investigation began weeks earlier when a potential employee came forward to report behavior that she felt was inappropriate. He said this person was shadowing the workers there for a potential job and told the director about inappropriate things she saw.
Police were then notified and began looking into the allegations and collecting evidence, including video.
During a news conference Monday, Robinson said the abuse was all physical, not sexual. He said it consisted of shoving, hitting and other physical assaults of children under the age of 2.
“The children in this particular case, of what is so bone-chilling, is these children are not at the age to talk,” Robinson said. “These children that are abused cannot go home and tell their parents that they were hit, they cannot tell their parents they were shoved, they cannot tell their parents they were assaulted.”
“It’s a very difficult case. Very difficult, very emotional. It’s just absolutely horrific. The video in this case, it is unbelievable, it is something that you would imagine would be in a horror movie or something disturbing,” he said.
He said there are potentially 11 children and families involved in this case. So far, they have identified up to seven potential victims.
The arrest warrants were issued Monday with each suspect receiving a bail of $55,000.
Robinson said the next step is for a special grand jury to meet in Autauga County later this month. He believes there will be additional charges presented to that grand jury.
“There could be potentially up to 40 charges of child abuse,” he said.
Robinson said all three suspects have been fired from Journey Church.
He said all three previously worked at the East Memorial day care in Prattville, which closed last year. He said there is no evidence of any abuse there there at this time, but there is no video from East Memorial to review. For that reason, he is asking parents who had children there to talk to their kids and ask if anything inappropriate happened.
He asks anyone with more information on the three suspects to call Prattville police or the Butterfly Bridge Children’s Advocacy Center.
“We want to get as much information as we can. We want to know what happened. We want to know if there are additional victims. And we want to help you in trying to get justice for those children,” he said.
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