Video shows Florida daycare worker kicking child – Sun Sentinel

Video shows Florida daycare worker kicking child

A child care worker lost her job and faces child abuse charges after “horrific” video camera footage showed her kicking a sleeping 15-month-old girl in the head and buttocks on Saturday morning, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said.

Video taken at Kids Stop-N-Play Daycare, 5339 Mile Stretch Road, shows the child sleeping on the floor while other children played nearby. The video shows Linda Klemm, 49, kick the top of the child’s head and drag the bottom of her foot across the left side of the child’s face, making her cry.

The girl fell back asleep, but 10 minutes later, Klemm kicked the girl in the buttocks and yanked her to a sitting position, the video showed.

Although the girl did not suffer serious injuries, Sheriff Chris Nocco characterized the crime as “horrific” Tuesday, adding that the video astonished hardened investigators.

“This was just the third day that the family brought their child to the day care,” Nocco said. “The father dropped (her) off at 6 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. and the mother picker (her) up at 12:30 p.m.”

The girl’s mother, Crystal Ann Faggione, 24, noticed abrasions under her right eye and on the left side of her face when she picked her up, the sheriff’s office said. She took her child to a local hospital after calling the day care center, the sheriff’s office said.

Faggione could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Deputy William Wood said Klemm denied kicking the girl, despite being shown the video.

“She said she was sorry, but never admitted to kicking her in the head,” Wood said. “I even stopped the video and rewound it several times.”

Wood said the girl’s family also was “horrified” by the footage.

Kids Stop-N-Play owner Rhonda Swetland said a worker called her Saturday after Faggione returned to the day care to complain. Swetland said she was met by two deputies at the business. Klemm was arrested after Swetland and the deputies watched the video, she said.

Swetland, who has owned the day care since 1992, said she fired Klemm immediately. Klemm said she was merely pushing a blanket closer to the girl, according to Swetland.

Swetland said she was devastated when she saw the video. “I have worked 22 years in this business and I would never have expected anything like this,” she said, adding that the day care has 16 cameras to monitor activity.

Swetland said she is cooperating with authorities in the investigation.

Swetland said Klemm, who has worked at the day care for four years, has four children. “I don’t get it,” Swetland said.

Nocco urged parents to immediately call the sheriff’s office or Florida Department of Children and Families if they have suspicions about their child’s treatment at a day care center, school or other place where they are cared for.

“Some hardened law enforcement officers looked at this and just said, ‘What was (Klemm) thinking?’ ” Nocco said. “The victim is 15 months old with no way to defend herself. This won’t be tolerated anywhere.”

A Long Island, N.Y., native living in Tarpon Springs, Klemm was released from the Land O’ Lakes Jail on Sunday after posting $5,000 bail, records show. She had no previous criminal record in Pasco, jail records show.

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