Three Lexington daycare workers charged, accused of causing physical harm to toddlers

Posted at 5:03 PM, Jan 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-21 14:59:29-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Three Lexington daycare workers are facing charges for allegedly causing physical harm to toddlers after one family noticed bruising on their child.

The Lexington Police Department arrested 32-year-old Samantha Ayers, 24-year-old Maurisa Sweat, and 20-year-old Jazzmine Webb on Wednesday. Each is charged with Criminal Abuse in the 1st degree.

A fourth woman, 40-year-old Terri Smallwood, was arrested for Criminal Abuse (2nd degree) and Failure to Report Known Abuse.

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Police say Ayers, Sweat, and Webb were teachers in the 1-year-olds classroom at the Eagle Creek Learning Academy / Kids R Kids childcare center in Lexington, and Smallwood was the center director. An investigation was launched earlier this month by Lexington Police and the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services after a family noticed bruising on their child.

The investigation found evidence of multiple instances of daycare staff treating children in a physical and unsafe manner.

The suspects are housed in the Fayette County Detention Center.

In a statement, the Eagle Creek Learning Academy says all the teachers in the classroom and the director were fired shortly after learning about the incident on January 7.

"Our #1 priority is the safety of the children in our care," the statement reads. "Although it is difficult to prevent the criminal actions of an employee with malicious intent at the time of the action, we can and have and will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that the perpetrators receive justice."

Read the full statement below: