Police have arrested a child care worker at an upscale daycare center in the West End neighborhood of D.C. for abusing two babies.
The owner of Kiddie Academy of D.C. was tentative about talking on camera about the allegations of two cases of babies being abused at her daycare center. But she finally decided to do an interview with us and told us she doesn’t know how these babies got the bruises on them. However, she said she has fired the daycare worker who has been charged with child abuse.
D.C. police arrested 35-year-old Claudia Patricia Cruz Roldan of Rockville, Maryland for allegedly abusing two babies hard enough to get multiple bruises at the Northwest D.C. daycare center.
Milana Mattingly is the owner of Kiddie Academy of D.C. – West End, which is in its second year of operation. She has not spoken to any reporters on camera about the allegations until now.
“As soon as we found out that she is guilty basically from the investigators, we let her go immediately,” she said.
They have about 60 children here from three months old to five years old. Mattingly said Roldan worked there since December.
“[I’m] terrified about somebody that we trusted can do anything to the children -- somebody we checked references, background checks came out clear -- that will inflict any kind of pain on a child,” said Mattingly.
She said that the police told her of the allegations, but she doesn't know any details.
“I don't know exactly how these bruises appeared,” she said. I’ve never seen the report, but we've provided all the information to the authorities.”
According to court documents, a mother found 12 distinct bruises on her baby after picking him up from his first day at Kiddie Academy.
I spoke to the mother by phone on Friday, but she did not want to comment.
The police have pulled surveillance video, and according to court documents, they saw Roldan slapping the infant on the back with her hand and muffling his face into her shoulder.
Roldan confessed to police that she caused the bruising on the baby's lower body.
At the same time, a witness told police she had seen Roldan abuse other infants at Kiddie Academy.
Further police investigation led to a second charge against Roldan for abusing a 7-month-old child. That child's parents found bruises on the baby's leg and face.
Mattingly said she had no idea how this abuse happened.
“I’ve been completely upset about it -- that something like that would happen,” said Mattingly. “We don't know the details and I don't know exactly the details of the charges. You have more information that I've ever seen actually. All it is, we had suspicion, and we had to let her go.”
I spoke with Roldan by phone and she was surprised that her phone number was listed in court documents. She refused to comment on the charges against her. She then texted me to say her lawyer will call with a response. We will update the story when we have her comments on the charges against her.
Kiddie Academy D.C. is part of a national chain. The West End daycare is a franchise. Wendy Odell Magus, a corporate spokeswoman, told us late Friday, “We have been working closely with Ms. Mattingly to address this issue. She has been responsive and proactive, working with authorities and taking the appropriate steps, including termination of the employee.”
Even in the most upscale daycare centers with full background checks, parents fear their children are never really safe.