Angered that the Howard County State’s Attorney’s office declined to file charges after what it called an extensive investigation into sexual abuse allegations at an Ellicott City child care center, a group of parents is suing the church-based center alleging it did nothing while an employee sexually abused their young children from 2018-2019.
The lawsuit filed in Howard County District Court this month against the Glen Mar Early Learning Center of the Glen Mar United Methodist Church seeks damages, and also names the learning center’s former director as a defendant.
The families also are asking the police department and state’s attorney’s office to reopen their investigation, claiming in a statement that a previous investigation was “superficial and highly incomplete.”
“Not only did the Glen Mar Early Learning Center enable and ignore the sexual abuse of several children over two years, but we are very concerned that the law enforcement response has been incomplete and inadequate, allowing [the employee] to work in other daycare centers,” said attorney Michael Dolce in a statement released Monday.
“We do not understand why the Howard County law enforcement response disregarded such substantial evidence, including video and medical proof, failed to pursue additional leads and treated the victims’ parents so poorly...," he said. "These children and their families deserve better than they have gotten to date, and we hope this will now be taken more seriously.”
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According to the statement from the plaintiffs, two families notified Celmer about complaints against a male employee in 2018. The plaintiffs allege Celmer told those families she would alert law enforcement authorities and suspend the employee, but she did neither. The plaintiffs allege the employee then abused five other children.
The families said they believe law enforcement has enough evidence to bring criminal charges, including detailed accounts from the children, some of whom described the abuse to mental health professionals.
“We’re hoping that law enforcement will revisit this decision," Dolce said in an interview.
Dolce said the employee denied the abuse in interviews, but his interview conflicted with footage captured on the center’s surveillance video.
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