NEW CASTLE, Ind. — A teacher at a central Indiana daycare center is being charged with a felony after being accused of throwing a child onto a cot while trying to “take control” during naptime.
Kara C. Kriesel, a 49-year-old New Castle resident, was charged this week in Henry County Court with one count of battery on a person less than 14 years old, a level 6 felony.
The charge against Kriesel, court documents reveal, stems from a September 2023 incident in which the teacher is accused of grabbing a young student by the arms, picking them up, yelling at them and throwing them down onto a cot after becoming frustrated with the juvenile.
The investigation into Kriesel, a teacher at Agape Learning Center in New Castle, began on Sept. 14 after Indiana State Police were contacted by a family member of the juvenile victim.
An ISP trooper met with the complainant, who said the child had a bruised forearm after an interaction with Kriesel two days prior. The complainant also provided police with photos of injuries the child had sustained and the names of witnesses who could speak on the incident.
The complainant also told police that the teacher, identified as Kriesel, had only been suspended for two days as a result of an internal school investigation. The person added that they had contacted the Department of Child Services but were unsure if the school had.
“[The complainant] was upset about the two-day suspension and stated that was not enough,” a police report said. “When asked if [they] wanted to pursue criminal charges, [the complainant] stated that [they] did.”
Witnesses that ISP spoke with described Kriesel as a “rough teacher” who “always has that force with her,” court documents show. While the witness was unable to confirm if the juvenile had been injured in the incident, they did say that Kriesel “always has a tight grip.”
Through an investigation, ISP was able to piece together what allegedly happened in the classroom.
According to Kriesel, she had been called into the room by another teacher who was crying and “begging the kids to get onto the cots and listen.” Kriesel told police she came in and “took control” of the classroom.
Witnesses and the family of the victim told police that one young child was moving around on their cot, which caused Kriesel to grab the student and “ask why [the victim] was giving her so much trouble.” The teacher is then accused of throwing the juvenile down onto the cot.
One witness said that Kriesel did not appear to have much remorse following the incident.
“[Witness] stated that the suspect proceeded to throw a blanket onto the juvenile victim like she was a dead body,” an ISP police report reads.
One witness told police she filed an incident report with the school but that they were unsure if DCS had been contacted. ISP eventually spoke with a man in charge of the school who provided troopers with a copy of that incident report and gave police access to the classroom where the incident occurred.
In an interview with Kriesel at her home, the suspect admitted to ISP that “she was not in the right” and that it was a “moment of frustration for her since she was trying to help a teacher control a room that was out of control.”
“[Kriesel] continued by stating that she was sure there was frustration building up in her, and she had just about had it with all the juveniles in the room, but the juvenile victim probably got the brunt of that frustration since the juvenile kept moving,” a police report reads.
However, the suspect denied throwing the child. Rather, Kriesel told officers that she “pushed” the child toward the cot. She later clarified that “it was a push but wasn’t really a push, it was more of a nudge.”
According to ISP, Kriesel concluded by saying that she “believed the incident was being blown out of proportion.”
Despite her denials, ISP concluded that there was probable cause to charge Kriesel with felony battery on a person less than 14 years old. ISP then requested that the Henry County Prosecutor’s Office charge Kriesel.
Online court records show that a warrant was issued for Kriesel’s arrest on Tuesday, Nov. 14. At the time of this article’s publication, no mugshot or booking photo of the suspect is available.