On June 8, 2020, Takisha Richardson, on behalf of the families of five children, filed a complaint in the Circuit Court of Howard County, Maryland alleging that the Glen Mar Early Learning Center of the Glen Mar United Methodist Church and the school’s former director failed to protect the children from a known and avoidable risk of sexual abuse.  

Case Background

The families of five children between the ages of four and five have accused the Glen Mar Early Learning Center of the Glen Mar United Methodist Church and the school’s former director, Lynda Celmer, of enabling a predator to sexually abuse and exploit their children over a two-year period in 2018 and 2019.

The plaintiffs, who include five children (through their parents), allege that Miguel “Mike” Martinez, a former Glen Mar employee who previously worked in at least one other day care center in Maryland, was the abuser. Martinez was hired to teach and care for children at the facility. The crimes reported revealed that the alleged abuse occurred on the premises of the childcare center in a room used for napping, where Martinez was left alone with the children regularly, which is in violation of the church’s safety rules and the applicable standard of care.

Plaintiffs also allege that despite the concerns expressed by two families to the school’s director, Ms. Celmer, about Martinez’s treatment of children in 2017 and 2018, Celmer failed to report the allegations to law enforcement or child welfare officials for investigation and allowed Martinez to continue to care for children with no other adult present into the spring of 2019. Specifically, the plaintiffs allege that Celmer assured those families that she would alert law enforcement authorities and suspend Martinez, but failed to do either, allowing additional children to be sexually abused.

In 2019, both Martinez, known to the children as “Mr. Mike” and Celmer were terminated from employment when a family reported suspected abuse to the police and the police informed the church.

Plaintiffs filed the lawsuit anonymously to protect the identity of the victims.