By: Marisela Burgos
INDIANAPOLIS (FOX 59) – The Marion County prosecutor’s office is investigating a daycare facilities reporting procedures after an employee was charged with molesting a child.
Ali Al-Awadi was suspended from his position because he was accused of molesting a 4-year-old girl. The incident is believed to have happened Thursday, August 21 at the Children’s Choice Learning Center. The daycare is located along 86th street.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Al-Awadi denied doing anything inappropriate with the 4-year-old girl. The court documents stated detectives learned new information every time they spoke with Al-Awadi and that some of the details in his statements were inconsistent.
The young child told a number of people the daycare employee touched her in her private part, according to the report. The mother of the child contacted the daycare as soon as her daughter told her what happened. She questioned why they did not let her know sooner about the alleged incident.
According to the probable cause affidavit, the mother received a follow up phone call from the director of the facility, who was not in the state, Thursday evening. The alleged incident happened earlier that day. The director notified her they were investigating the incident. The report stated the director contacted the mother the next morning too in order to notify her they reported the incident.
FOX59 contacted Bright Horizons, which is the company that operates the daycare center. They released a statement about the investigation, which is looking into their reporting practices.
The statement read:
“Our most important responsibility is to ensure the health and safety of the children in our care and the well-being of the child is our primary concern. We are taking this situation very seriously and are fully supporting authorities in their investigation. Our team reported this incident under the guidelines established by the State of Indiana. We are doing our own internal investigation to ensure that our team acted with the sense of urgency we would want in communicating this very serious situation. We are committed to supporting the needs of the family and all of the children in our care.”
What guidelines are daycare centers required to follow?
FOX 59 spoke with the director of the Office of Early Childhood and Out of School Learning today. The department is part of the Family and Social Services Administration, which is a state agency. The department did not talk about this specific case. Melanie Brizzi, the director, said every childcare professional is required to report an incident. As part of their licensing requirement, the center has to report a serious issue to either CPS or police, Brizzi’s department and to the parents -immediately.
“For a lot of different reasons, first for (the) protection of that child and to get that child whatever is needed in these circumstances. Also, to inform the appropriate authorities so they can begin an investigation,” Brizzi said.
Brizzi said if a daycare center has violated reporting procedures, a number of things can happen. She said they could be cited and it would be a part of their inspection report or they could get probation or their license could be revoked.
Al-Awadi appeared in court today. A bail hearing has been scheduled for Sept. 2. The defense council filed a motion for bond review.