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Lawsuit alleges sexual child abuse at a Howard County church's early learning center

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Posted at 4:08 PM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-08 16:11:35-04

The parents of five children have filed a lawsuit against the Glen Mar United Methodist Church's Early Learning Center and the school’s former director, alleging there children were allowed to be sexually abused by a former employee in 2019.

Filed in Howard County Circuit Court, the lawsuit claims the Howard County Police Department and State’s Attorney's Office closed the case without thoroughly investigating.

Attorney's for the family say the case should be reopened because there is not only video evidence, but accounts from some of the victims and other staff members at the school who said they witnessed the worker touching the children under their blankets during nap time. The children are between the ages of four and five-years-old, according to their family lawyers.

The lawsuit accuses the school and its former director of being negligent by keeping the worker employed after they'd been made aware of the accusations, and seeks damages for various medical costs.

The case was filed by Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll. The group specializes in representing sexual assault and abuse victims, and is led by Michael Dolce who is a childhood sexual abuse survivor himself.

The Howard County State's Attorney's Office responded to the allegations, defending their investigation while vehemently denying that there was enough evidence to criminally charge the former worker.

“The Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office thoroughly examined all the evidence in the Glen Mar Early Learning Center case, including e-mails, officer’s notes, more than 12 hours of videotaped recordings involving more than 30 witnesses and the viewing of approximately 160 hours of classroom footage," said the State's Attorney's Office in a statement. "Throughout the course of our investigation, we met with a parent of one of the alleged victims, as per their request, and even re-opened the case when additional information was provided to us by another family. We also offered to meet with the most recent complainant’s family to discuss our findings, but as our records indicate, they have chosen not to avail themselves to us at this time. We understand and share their concerns, but we stand firm in our decision that there was not sufficient evidence, presented to us, to file any criminal charges against the defendant in this case. If any new information were to come to light, we would be more than willing to fully examine it.”