Multiple 3-year-olds sexually assaulted at 5-star Wendell day care, families say


WENDELL, N.C. — The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is looking into reports of sexual assaults at a day care after multiple complaints were made against the same employee.

According to the police, officers began their investigation into ABC Land day care at 601 Raymond Drive on Jan. 4, when multiple people reported an employee sexually assaulted their children.

Almost a week later, on Tuesday, police received a third sex assault complaint against the same employee.

“My 3-year-old told me that he was touched in a private area by a male employee at naptime,” said one of the mothers who filed a police report. “I confronted the owner and she denied it. To my knowledge today, the employee is still at the day care.”

The mother says the alleged assault took place the week before Christmas, and her child is currently seeing a forensic psychologist.

WRAL News went to the daycare to speak with the owner, but she said, “I don’t have time to talk to you today.”

Wendell police Capt. John Slaughter told WRAL News there were three children involved, and all were 3 years old.

The SBI said investigations are ongoing, but no charges have been filed.

“It’s important for parents to see it is their responsibility to talk to their children about safety specifically the safety of their bodies,” said Cristin Deronja with SAFEchild. “Children at a young age have a sense of touch, they know the difference with what is potentially hurtful or doesn’t feel right, but they may not be able to communicate it the right way for someone to understand.”

ABC Land sent a letter to families on Wednesday, which read in part:

“We are dealing with serious allegations against one of our employees … We did receive this complaint last week and started taking measures to inform the agencies that handle situations involving child care complaints.”

The letter stated that ABC Land received an unannounced visit on Monday, Jan. 9, from the state Department of Health and Human Services.

ABC Land wrote “all allegations are taken seriously with the investigation following the procedures required by the state.”

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services also sent a statement in the midst of its investigation.

“The safety of children in their child care centers is of highest concern to NCDHHS, and we are investigating this case. There is no legal requirement that child care programs inform parents when there is an ongoing investigation at the facility. In the event an administrative action is issued, the action must be posted in a location visible to parents and visitors near the entrance.”

The daycare has been in operation since 1979, according to its website. The company has two locations in Wendell. It is listed as a five-star facility caring for children from newborns to 12-year-olds.

The public can view the results of inspections and any violations online for child care facilities registered with the state. Recent violations from ABC Land in December were related to paperwork, with some employees not being up-to-date on required orientation and training procedures.

A North Carolina Statute denotes that “upon receipt of any report of sexual abuse of the juvenile in a child care facility, the director shall notify the State Bureau of Investigation within 24 hours or on the next workday.”

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