A former day care worker in Woodbridge, Virginia, was convicted on Jan. 13 on more than 12 charges for abusing toddlers in her care and for operating what a prosecutor called a "baby fight club" in her classroom.
Sarah Jordan, 31, is one of two women accused of abusing 1-year-old children at the Minnieland Academy in 2013, along with 26-year-old Kierra Spriggs.
Witnesses at Jordan's hearing testified she tripped children, stepped on toes, encouraged fighting between classmates and sprayed them with a hose, The Associated Press reports.
During the three-day trial, Jordan testified in her own defense and denied accusations that she intentionally tried to harm the children under her care. She admitted to using the hose to sprinkle the children with water occasionally because a sprinkler attachment was broken, AP reports.
While Jordan suggested the accusations arose from workplace disputes, prosecutor Ashleigh Landers noted the co-workers at the center who reportedly witnessed abuses had no particular bias against Jordan herself.
Landers concluded her argument by likening the atmosphere Jordan cultivated in her classroom to a "baby fight club" which inflicted tremendous amounts of damage to the psyches of these children.
Parents testified during the trial that their children became fearful of water and began imitating behaviors encouraged in the classroom, such as stepping on others' feet, AP reports.
WRC reports that the prosecution also brought several therapists into court for their testimonies. They testified that in many cases, some of the children under Jordan's care avoided eye contact and were unable to speak.
"The teacher was making him the class bully made to fight. It was hard to hold back tears, emotional, it was very deep," local parent Blake Buckner described of his son who was put under Jordan's care and forced to fight.
Jordan was convicted on six misdemeanor charges and seven felony charges. WRC reports she originally faced 39 charges, but 22 were dropped and she was found not guilty on four charges. Spriggs is set to face trial in February 2016, AP reports.