Day care ordered closed after state investigation

A Hephzibah day care has been ordered to close as a result of a state investigation into allegations of child sexual abuse.

Authorities revoked the operating license of Skillman’s Group Daycare, 2712 Bennington Drive, earlier this month after it was found in violation of several state guidelines, according to documents obtained today by The Augusta Chronicle.

Officials with Bright From the Start of the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, which oversees licensing for child-care centers, launched the investigation in October, shortly after police arrested Aaron James Miller, 19, on charges of sexual exploitation of a minor.

A Polaroid picture of a nude 3-year-old girl was found in his wallet, according to authorities.

Mr. Miller had misplaced the wallet at a convenience store, and it was turned over to Richmond County police. Four days later, Mr. Miller, who is a grandson of the day care’s owner, Frances Skillman, was charged child molestation after police interviewed a 7-year-old girl who attended the facility.

Questions about Mr. Miller’s behavior were raised before the picture was found by law enforcement, according to the documents. Based upon a staff member’s interview with authorities, the parents of one child told Mrs. Skillman in late May or June that they believed that Mr. Miller had “inappropriately touched” their 3-year-old. The document said that Mrs. Skillman confronted Mr. Miller, who denied the incident.

Mr. Miller should not have been employed with the day care, let alone left by himself with children, the document said. His employment application stated that he had received his GED, a requirement for working at the facility, but he was, in fact, still enrolled in a GED program at Augusta Technical College when he applied.

According to a letter sent to Mrs. Skillman, state investigators determined that the center had “serious rule violations” that affected the health and safety of the children in its care and that demonstrated a “reckless disregard for the physical and mental health and safety of children in care.”

The letter specifically cites the owner for failing to prevent the child from being exposed to sexually overt conduct, failure to provide appropriate supervision that resulted in the sexual exploitation of children and failure to have a satisfactory criminal background check done on Mr. Miller.

Thirteen children were enrolled at the day care when the alleged sexual abuse occurred.

Published in: on February 19, 2008 at 1:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

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