Day Care Center Responds To Allegations Of Abuse 11/4/13
CBS 7 News
November 4, 2013
The Tree of Life Learning Center in Odessa is under fire after a Facebook post about an alleged child abuse incident went viral. Now the daycare is firing back with a defamation lawsuit.
Odessa Police are not saying much, but they do confirm an open investigation into allegations of child abuse at the center. Some parents said they did not know about the allegations.
"I know it happens at a lot of day cares, it's never good to hear but surely if they're confirmed they will get fired, they're not going to keep that person, that's bad business," said one mother of children in the day care.
A Facebook post went viral with more than 200 shares, alleging an employee spanked a baby's bare behind, leaving “welts” and “purple tail bone bruises”.
"There will be legal action taken to the family on the basis of slander," said Tree of Life Learning Center Owner Shaborah Powell-Johnson.
Johnson denies the accusations, saying she called Child Protective Services herself and requested an investigation of the male child and their daycare.
"I'm concerned about getting to the bottom of this, because no child deserves to be abused in any manner," Powell-Johnson said.
At least two parents we spoke with outside the daycare did not know about the allegations.
"No, I was not aware,” one parent said.
Johnson said they are working to inform parents of what is going on, but written notices have not been given out.
"I am only one person, I can only talk one-on-one to parents," Johnson said.
Some stand by the center.
"I don't feel like it's true, as far as I'm concerned, my child will stay here."
We spoke with one parent off camera who said she was concerned enough not to send her child to the daycare today.
CBS 7 did reach out to the person who posted the allegations, they did not return a message.
The Department of Family and Protective Services had not returned a request for comment at deadline.
According to their website, Tree of Life Learning Center was cited for two medium-risk deficiencies in the past two years. You can read that information at this link.