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Daycare Owner Convicted Of Keeping 26 Children Behind False Wall

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado daycare proprietor convicted of retaining 26 kids hidden within the basement of her enterprise two years in the past has been sentenced to 6 years in jail after dad and mom stated among the kids suffered trauma together with sleeping issues and anxiousness.

A choose issued the sentence to Carla Religion on Thursday following her conviction by a jury in August of greater than two dozen misdemeanor baby abuse fees and different crimes.

Religion was solely licensed to take care of as much as six kids at her Colorado Springs non-public day care and solely two of them had been allowed to be beneath the age of two.

However police who went to her Mountain Play Place day care in November 2019 after receiving reviews there have been extra kids than allowed discovered 25 kids within the basement, together with 12 kids beneath age 2, prosecutors stated.

Carla Religion was solely licensed to take care of as much as six kids at her Colorado Springs non-public day care and solely two of them had been allowed to be beneath the age of two.

There have been two grownup workers supervising them within the basement and one among them, Valerie Fresquez, accepted a plea deal and testified at Religion’s trial, KRDO-TV reported. The twenty sixth baby who had been within the basement was picked up by a dad or mum whereas police had been on the day care, authorities stated.

Lots of the kids had dirty or moist diapers and had been sweaty and thirsty, in keeping with an arrest affidavit.

When police arrived, Religion repeatedly advised an officer that no kids had been there and that the house didn’t have a basement, however the officer heard kids’s music and a baby’s cry from the basement, the affidavit stated.

One other officer found a false wall and moved it to disclose the basement staircase, the affidavit stated.

At Religion’s sentencing on Thursday, dad and mom of the youngsters and kin crammed the courtroom, telling the choose that their kids have suffered trauma since being on the day care, citing sleep and anxiousness points, KOAA-TV reported.

Dad or mum Kim Marshall stated that each of her kids nonetheless obtain counseling.

“We sleep with the lights on in our home,” she stated. “My children are anxious. They’re petrified of the world.”

Religion’s lawyer, Josh Tolini, stated she had issue saying “no” to oldsters who needed to position their kids at her day care and that the scenario snowballed.

She made some “extremely poor choices about how to do that,” Tolini stated.

Religion was convicted of 26 counts of misdemeanor baby abuse, making an attempt to affect a public servant and obstructing a peace officer.

KRDO-TV reported that fees in opposition to Fresquez shall be dropped if she meets some unspecified steps.

Day care worker Christina Swauger was convicted of the identical fees as Religion and is awaiting sentencing.

An arrest warrant has been issued for an additional former day care worker who failed to look in court docket, stated Howard Black, a spokesperson for the 4th Judicial District Legal professional’s Workplace in Colorado.



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