DA: No charges after abuse investigation at Albany daycare

DA: No charges after abuse investigation at Albany daycare

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A viral social media post prompted an investigation at an Albany daycare center.

The post, which was shared hundreds of times, claimed a teacher at Byne Child Development Center abused a student this month.

Dougherty County's district attorney will not charge the former daycare center teacher, after the allegations of child abuse came out on social media.

Byne Child Development Center self-reported these abuse allegations to a state agency Thursday.

Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards said the employee in question no longer works at the daycare.

However, Bright from the Start, which is Georgia's Department of Early Care and Learning, is still investigating these allegations.

Reg Griffin with Bright from the Start, Georgia's Department of Early Care and Learning, said staff members have begun looking into allegations surrounding Byne Child Development Center in Albany.

"We'll do a thorough inspection of the center, interview teachers, parents, children, whatever's necessary to try to gather the information," said Griffin.

We spoke with a mom of a student who didn't want to go on camera.

She said her 3-year-old son told her on November 2nd that a teacher put something around his waist because he was wiggling.

That's when she said she started asking questions. She said when she saw surveillance video, it appeared to show a teacher pulling her 3-year-old son to the ground.

Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards said his office investigated this case, along with video footage of the incident.

He says in the investigation, neither his team nor he found criminal intent on the part of the child development employee.

In a statement, the daycare center said:

The safety of our children is our utmost concern.  We have contacted Bright from the Start and the Albany Police for them to determine if there is more than a policy violation.  It is an active investigation. We have no further comment until the investigations have been completed. - Byne Child Development Center

Griffin said his department hopes to finish up its investigation in the next 15 to 30 days.

"Based on that, we will either substantiate or unsubstantiate the allegations that have been made," said Griffin.

District Attorney Greg Edwards called this incident a learning opportunity for all citizens in our community, stating if people believe they witnessed a potential crime, they should report it to local law enforcement.

Catching the signs early

Though no criminal wrong doing was found in this case, experts say there are things parents can do to look out for potential signs of their children being mishandled.

The Lily Pad SANE Center in Albany treats children and adults that have been abused in any way.

Executive Director Mary Martinez-Allen said Friday that parents should always keep the line of communication open with their children.

She said parents can reassure their children that it's okay to talk to them about anything, and parents should always ask open-ended questions.

"Maybe asking, 'tell me about your day. What did you do today?'" Martinez-Allen explained. "'Tell me about something you learned, or did you go anywhere?' Just asking those questions where they can provide you a bigger answer."

Martinez-Allen also said if you notice marks or bruises on your child, always ask them about where it came from.

You can read the full statement from Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards below:

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