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Long Island Day Care Workers Allegedly Force-feed Toddler; Lawsuit Filed

courthouseA daycare center in Southampton, Long Island is closed and two of its employees have been charged with endangering the welfare of a child after parents reported that their toddler was force-fed and abused while under their care.

Kathleen Culver and Sarah Dawber were arrested after a staff member informed Caroline and John Stella that they had force-fed their 15-month old daughter while she sat in a high chair then picked her up by her onesie and slammed her to the ground several times after she vomited.

Dawber was arraigned in September, when she pled not guilty. Her attorney has stated that the account of abuse was fabricated by a former employee with emotional problems. But the child’s mother has countered that she does not believe that such a detailed story could be made up. Moreover, the child is showing psychological side effects of the abuse: she refuses to get in her high chair and has become withdrawn.

“They promised they would take care of her, they were supposed to be her next parent,” said Caroline Stella, who spoke out publicly about the abuse recently for the first time.

Long Island parents file claim over day care center abuse

The Stellas are filing a lawsuit over the abusive treatment that their daughter received at Side by Side Child Care. John Stella has stated that “If it could prevent one more kid from getting hit, from being force fed, being slammed to the ground, there’s a reason for this.”

Their attorney points out that it is not clear what kind of long term side effects that the child, now 21 months old, will suffer from the incident. “How do these injuries emotional, psychological, manifest themselves? They manifest themselves, we all know as being parents they manifest over time,” said the parent’s attorney.

The Stellas are suing Suffolk County, the Town of Southampton, and New York State for psychological damage done to their child. However, the attorney for the Town of Southampton has argued that the lawsuit against the town is not valid because the town is not in charge is regulating private businesses such as Side by Side Child Care, stating, “The claim that they make, that the town is somehow liable or responsible for what allegedly happened there is absolutely baseless.”

Abuse that warrants litigation

If your child has been injured in a day care setting, you likely have grounds for filing a civil suit against the center, the employees, and/or any other parties responsible for the welfare of your child.

Employees who are facing criminal charges can also be named in a civil suit. A successful personal injury lawsuit can recover damages for medical bills, long term psychological care, and pain and suffering, along with other related losses. An attorney versed in the relevant civil statutes can determine the proper charges, negligent parties, and appropriate damages, as well as to make sure a thorough investigation into the abuse is carried out.

If you believe that your child has been physically or emotionally abused or suffered the effects of negligent day care workers, the Long Island personal injury attorneys of Edelman, Krasin & Jaye are here to help. Residents in the greater New York area can contact us at 1-800-469-7429 to schedule a free case evaluation.