A Florida day care worker was arrested Saturday after police say she was caught on video kicking a child she was caring for.
Pasco County sheriff’s deputies arrested 48-year-old Linda Klemm at Kids Stop-N-Play day care in New Port Richey, after a mother reported her daughter came home from the facility with marks on her body.
Crystal Faggione, 24, told the Tampa Bay Times she picked up her 16-month-old daughter, Lillian, at 12:45 p.m. Saturday and noticed a bruise under the girl’s eye. She called the day care and staff told her that the injury wasn’t sustained while Lillian was in their care.
Then, as she was feeding her daughter some lunch, Faggione said, she noticed some more marks.
“I took her up to the day care, and I said, 'This did not happen in my house. This happened here,’” she said.
The Sheriff’s Office was notified and Faggione took the girl to the hospital, where her injuries were deemed superficial.
Deputies reviewed surveillance video from the facility and said it revealed that Klemm kicked the girl numerous times as she slept on the floor. In one instance Klemm is said to have kicked the girl in the top of the head, in what appeared to be an attempt to wake her up. In a second instance, Klemm returns and kicks the girl on the backside before yanking her into a sitting position, they said.
Detective William Wood said Klemm has repeatedly denied kicking the girl despite the video evidence.
“Linda should have known better. Linda was there to take care of children — little, innocent children — and she didn’t," Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said. “Even the most hardened law enforcement officers were disgusted by what they saw in the video.”
Kids Stop-N-Play owner Rhonda Swetland said she fired Klemm on the spot and is deeply troubled by what she saw. She said Klemm was well-liked by everyone at the day care and that she works hard to hire quality employees.
“I do background checks on all my staff. I put 16 cameras in here to protect these children. She's been here four years and there's been no signs of any abuse,” Swetland told WTSP News.
She said the day care has been in business since 1992 and has never had any other problems — a claim confirmed by the Sheriff’s Office.
Klemm was released from Pasco County Jail Sunday on $5,000 bail.
Photo Credit: WTSP News courtesy of Pasco County Sheriff’s Office