INDIANAPOLIS - Employees at a day care facility knew about -- but failed to immediately report -- child molestation allegations last week, according to court documents released Wednesday.
Ali Al-Awadi, an employee at Children’s Choice Learning Center at St. Vincent Hospital, faces felony charges of child molesting after he was arrested Friday.
The court records detailed the allegation that the 4-year-old girl was molested and that other employees failed to immediately report the crime to the child’s parents and also waited to report the allegations to the Indiana Department of Child Services.
The 4-year-old girl told police that Al-Awadi molested her during nap time at the day care center.
The child said she told another caregiver about what happened within an hour of the incident. That employee confronted Al-Awadi but did not report the allegations to the girl’s parents, according to court documents. Nobody at the day care called police -- which is required by state law.
The day care also did not notify DCS until Friday, one day after the alleged crime.
"Any laws aside, the worst-case scenario is that a child could be re-injured or worse. So that's the bottom line. If we fail to report, we could be endangering a child," said Sandy Runkle with Prevent Child Abuse Indiana. "The law's pretty clear. Anyone who has reason to believe that a child is a victim of child abuse and neglect, must make a report."
Court records revealed that Al-Awadi had been warned twice by day care workers not to pick up children capable of walking on their own. He told police that the child wrapped her legs around his arm while he picked her up. He said that any injuries to the girl must have been caused due to her rubbing against his wristwatch.
Al-Awadi denies the allegations and is suspended from the day care center. Jail records show that he remained at the Marion County Jail on a $10,000 bond.
Requirements for reporting abuse at day cares
When it comes to reporting possible child abuse, licensed centers have the most accountability. They are required to verbally report abuse or neglect to the Family and Social Services Administration and in writing within five days of the incident.
Licensed centers are also required by law to immediately report allegations of abuse and neglect to the child's parents and the state hotline or law enforcement.
They are also required to fire the employee if DCS substantiates a case of abuse or neglect against the employee.
Unlicensed day cares and home facilities are also required to immediately report abuse or neglect to DCS or police. However, home and church day cares are not required to notify the child’s parents.
It is a good idea to speak with your provider when you pick your child up and know what your day care’s policy is when it comes to reporting child abuse.