(INDIANAPOLIS) - An Indianapolis daycare worker has been charged with molesting a four-year-old.
20-year-old Ali Al-Awadi was charged with a felony count of child molesting Wednesday after his arrest last week.
A local mother reported to police that she suspected her child had been molested at The Children's Choice Learning Center at St. Vincent. (The daycare is on the hospital's campus, but not owned by the hospital.)
Indianapolis Metro Police launched an investigation, and Al-Awadi was taken into police custody for questioning Friday. He was arrested Saturday. In the probable cause documents, Al-Awadi denies touching the child inappropriately.
But the probable cause reveals disturbing details. According to the affidavit, the four-year-old girl told a teacher, her mother and a hospital worker that her teacher had touched her between in her legs..
A spokesperson for Children's Choice Learning Center where Al-Awadi worked says he was hired last July. He has been on administrative leave since the allegations from the child at the day care came to light.
According to the court documents, the little girl told her mother she woke up during nap time in the kindergarten room last Thursday to find her teacher, who she knows as Mr. Ali, touching her between her legs.
When asked by investigators the next day what Mr. Ali did at her school, the affidavit says the child replied, "He hurts me." The girl complained that it was painful to urinate and complained of soreness to her genital area.
According to investigators, the little girl's genitals had injuries on them consistent with her story.
Investigators said it all started when they got a call Friday afternoon to come to the emergency room at St. Vincent Hospital. That's where they met the girl's mother and her daughter. The mother told investigators a male teacher at her daughter's daycare had fondled the child. Police then went to the daycare to investigate.
"That is actually scary and, you know, it kinda hits close to home, because my child was there, even if it was just a week," said one mother who didn't want her face on camera or her named used.
She said her 1-year-old son attended the daycare before she pulled him out because she couldn't afford to send him there full-time.
Given the allegations that have surfaced, she said she was relieved.
"You hear about it all the time, but you really don't know where or when it's going to happen," she said.
The mom went on to say her son did fine there and she liked his teacher and was never worried for his safety. Going forward, though, choosing a new daycare will be a different story.
"You don't know," she said. "You kinda just have to put your faith and trust into God for one, that your child's gonna be okay, but you're also putting your faith and trust in the care providers that are providing the care for your child."
The parent company of the daycare Bright Horizons Family Solutions released a statement which read:
"Our most important responsibility is to ensure the health and safety of the children in our care. Any time a concern like this is brought to us, we take it seriously.
As soon as it was brought to our attention, we placed the teacher on administrative leave. We also reported it to the appropriate children's agencies. We will support the agencies and local authorities in any way we can as they look into what may have happened.
The teacher had a clear background and reference check at the time of hire and no other teachers, parents or children have reported any concerns."
Criminal background checks review the state and county records where employees have resided, worked or gone to school in the last seven years.
Al-Awadi is behind bars at the Marion County Jail.
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