Two daycare workers have been sentenced to prison in a case prosecutors called a “baby fight club.”
Jurors heard “shocking stories” of the defendants viciously beating, torturing, force-feeding and tormenting children in a Virginia daycare play area called the “monkey room.” The incidents that were reported, took place during an eight-month period in 2013.
The “baby fight club” label is a spin on the title of the 1999 movie, “Fight Club,” based on a novel about an underground recreational fistfighting club. An investigation by Child Protective Services found that the two women likely abused the children for entertainment.
Jurors convicted one of the former daycare workers, a 26-year-old woman who had worked there for several years, of four counts of felony child cruelty and two misdemeanor assault and battery charges. Originally the woman was charged with 57 counts of child abuse, but more than half of the charges were dropped. She was acquitted of 14 other charges.
Jurors came to their decision after hearing how the woman force-fed children Flamin' Hot Cheetos, snapped rubber bands on their arms while they cried, forcefully stepped on their toes, doused them with water and made them fight each other. When she was questioned by police, the woman even admitted to biting one child on the finger.
At sentencing late last month, the woman's attorney asked the judge to impose a sentence of less than six months. He cited his client's lack of a previous criminal record and argued that none of the 1- and 2-year-olds suffered lasting injuries as a result of his client's actions. However the attorney prosecuting the case told the judge it was too early to determine the long-term effects of the abuse suffered by the children. During the trial, parents testified their children became aggressive and frightful as a result of the abuse inflicted by the daycare workers.
The judge seemed inclined to agree with the prosecutor. He sentenced the woman to 33 months in prison, the maximum sentence he could impose, for abusing multiple toddlers in her care. Her attorney asked the judge to credit his client for time served, which means she has seven more months to serve on her prison sentence.
A second daycare worker, who is now 31 and had worked at the daycare for six years, was sentenced to nearly two years in prison for her role in the “baby fight club.” In addition to encouraging children to bite and fight each other, the second worker tripped them and sprayed them “full blast” in their faces with a water hose. At her sentencing, however, the woman continued to deny the allegations, suggesting she “sprayed the children in the face as one might playfully with a sprinkler.”
On the day of the sentencing late last month, more than a dozen families filed civil lawsuits against the two women and five corporate entities of the Virginia daycare. They are seeking $12 million in damages.
Despite the circumstances, everyone deserves a quality defense. If you are facing criminal charges in Washington State, call the Seattle law office of Steve Karimi at (206) 621-8777 or contact him online.