DC child care center employee arrested for sexually abusing child

- A D.C. day care employee has been arrested for sexually abusing a child, police said.

According to police, 65-year-old Juan Arturo Perez was charged Friday with second-degree child sexual abuse.

The alleged sexual assault happened at the child care center, CentroNia, which is located in the 1400 block of Columbia Road in Northwest D.C., police said.

Perez, an assistant pre-kindergarten teacher at CentroNia for 10 years, is accused of inappropriately touching a girl over her clothing on several occasions at the rooftop playground and inside a classroom during a four-month period from Dec. 1 to March 31, according to a police report.

CentroNia said it is fully licensed and Perez did pass a background check.

A CentroNia administrator told FOX 5 that they knew about the allegations against Perez two months ago, but were told by police to not speak about the case. Perez was placed on administrative leave after CentroNia was informed by authorities about the alleged abuse.

The child care center does not believe there are any other victims, but they will be launching an internal investigation since the information is now public.

A letter was sent home to parents about Perez's arrest on Friday.

“The safety and well-being of CentroNia’s students and families is our priority," CentroNia said in a statement. "We take these matters very seriously. When we were approached by authorities two months ago, CentroNia immediately put the staff member on administrative leave, sent a letter home to appropriate families, and notified OSSE. We were told at that time that we could not talk about the matter or do our own investigation. CentroNia has been cooperating with authorities throughout the investigation and we are reviewing the information as it is becoming public. Now that we have more information, CentroNia is launching its own internal investigation based on the policies and procedures we have in place to ensure CentroNia maintains a safe school environment.”

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