LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE)- Imagine...your young child abused at a daycare you thought was a safe place. A Louisville mother says it happened to her 2-year-old son. Now, a suspect is behind bars. Like any parent, Karen Kays loves her 2-year-old son.
"He's the best," she said as she looked at pictures of her smiling toddler.
He has a slight disability with his hearing and has some trouble communicating.
"He's 100% Boy. Going all the time. Never stops," Kays said with a smile.
Her world stopped after she said her son was at the Excellence in Learning Daycare on Crums Lane Friday afternoon. She said her toddler had gotten out of his seat 2, maybe 3 times in the presence of daycare worker Vernice Aniton.
"She set him down twice, I think the 3rd time she set him down, she took her hand and she held his head and she slapped him across the face like wham," Kays said as she demonstrated what she said happened to her son. "Who would do that to a 2-year-old?"
Just after 3:30pm, Friday, Shively police and EMS arrived to the daycare and found that a child had been abused by an employee. Police arrested 63-year-old Vernice Aniton. She appeared before a judge Saturday morning for her arraignment charged with criminal abuse 2nd degree.
"My main concern is how long has she been there and what has she done that nobody's seen?," Kays said.
The daycare's Assistant Director told WAVE 3 a background check was done on Aniton back when she first started a few months ago. It came back clear and there were no abuse cases on her record. WAVE 3 was told Aniton was immediately fired.
"Her being behind bars for this, maybe it's a wake-up call for them for whoever they hire again," Kays said.
Kays said her son was taken to the hospital with some bruising and swelling near his eye, but he's ok.
"I hope that he doesn't have any lasting effects because he's such a happy little boy," she said.
Kays said she has a message for other parents.
"If you're kid can communicate with you, that you ask them 'what happened to you at daycare today?' 'did anybody put their hands on you or anything like that?," said Kays. "Don't think that it could never happen to you because I thought it could never happen to me."
Anniton's bond was reduced to $5,000/ 10%. A judge entered a plea of not guilty for Aniton. Aniton was also ordered to have no contact with the daycare center or with the family of the child involved.
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