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Last updated on Saturday, July 14, 2012
(INDIANAPOLIS) - The state is cracking down on an Indianapolis day care it said is operating illegally.
According to court documents filed this week by the Indiana Attorney General's Office, Rebirth Christian Academy is operating unlicensed and unregistered despite numerous warnings.
Records show the Indiana Family Social Services Administration terminated Rebirth's certificate of registration on June 22, yet an inspector found at least 13 children in the facility on July 5.
Lasonda Carter, the pastor of the ministry, assaulted the FSSA child care licensing consultant during the state-law mandated visit, according to court documents.
Carter told the inspector all the children were present that day for "vacation Bible school," but when pressed, could not provide any information about the Bible school, according to court documents provided by the attorney general.
Carter is a convicted felon, and according to court records, has a substantiated case of child abuse against her.
Carter is not allowed to be around children at Rebirth, per a 2010 judgment with FSSA.
But in the July 5 inspection, FSSA found two infants in car seats, one infant asleep in a crib and 10 children about 2 years old and older.
When the Call 6 Investigators knocked on the day care's door Friday, no one answered, but Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney saw movement inside the facility.
As RTV6 reported in May, Lawrence police are also investigating allegations of child abuse and neglect at Rebirth after a family reported their 18-month-old daughter had bruises and diaper rash after attending the day care.
The Attorney General's Office and FSSA were unavailable to comment due to the pending litigation.
Carter called RTV6 Friday afternoon and told Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney she is not operating as a day care, and that the state is going to "get in trouble" for saying that.
Carter declined further comment, and directed RTV6 to her attorney.
Carter's attorney, Elizabeth Milliken, filed a complaint in Marion Superior Court on July 11, saying that Rebirth ceased its operations as a child care center, and as a result, continues to suffer "irreparable harm including, but not limited to, the loss of income derived from operating the child care ministry, damage to Rebirth's reputation and good will, and loss of child care clientele."
Milliken also alleges FSSA did not follow its own rules when disciplining Rebirth.
"(The FSSA Bureau of Child Care) never issued a 'Certificate of Not in Compliance' to Rebirth or conducted an informal meeting, and in failing to do so, BCC failed to comply with its own procedures," read the complaint. "The defendants have at all times acted under color of state law."
The lawsuit asks the court to award compensatory damages to Rebirth Christian Academy and requests a jury trial.
A court hearing is scheduled for Aug. 14 at 11 a.m.
Some former clients of Rebirth Christian Academy told RTV6 they hope the courts take swift action to protect children.
As for notifying parents, there is no state requirement for registered ministries to share names and addresses with FSSA.
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