JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A mother says her family received a devastating call last week from a former employee at Kingdom Kids Academy in St. Augustine.
“She was like but it's eating at me," said the mother. "She said I quit my job because they were threatening me if I told you, but I only feel like it's right for you to know."
The former employee told the mother about an incident in early June, described in an investigative report by the Department of Children and Families.
The report says a teacher found another toddler with their hand inside her daughter’s underwear and determined that the child had been digitally penetrated.
The daycare does not deny the incident occurred.
In a statement to First Coast News the daycare’s owner, Pastor Nellie Tinsley, described it as “a touching incident."
“We are of course saddened by the incident," said Tinsley. "To my knowledge nothing like this has ever happened in our daycare before. Of course, now there is a heightened awareness to ensure that no opportunity ever exist for it to happen again."
But this mother says she was never told until the ex-employee called last week. That former employee asked to remain anonymous.
She claims she wanted to tell the parents, but that her job was threatened if she said anything.
“I was scared for my safety and the safety of those kids so I did what was I thought was right at the time," said the former employee. "I don’t care if it was her friend or cousin whatever that right there alone is not okay."
In the statement, Tinsley says after the teacher reported the touching incident, she was instructed to tell the child’s mother or whoever picked her up what happened.
Tinsley says teachers are trained under DCF. They are also fingerprinted and background checked.
The daycare says they are leaving the incident in the hands of DCF investigators and awaiting follow-up visits and before the agency makes a final determination.