Police: Day care workers slammed kids onto mats, charged with abuse in SD

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Two former day care employees have been arrested after accusations of abuse in South Dakota. 

31-year-old Teresa Gallagher and 22-year-old Kenedi Wendt worked at Little Blessings Learning Center in western Sioux Falls.

Police say a parent of one of the children at the day care made a report after their son told them that a worker banged his head on a mat while he was sleeping.  After the report was made, the two workers were fired and authorities started investigating.

While looking at surveillance videos, they saw many different instances of abuse by two of the workers.

“These two employees would pick up the kids several feet off the ground and slam them onto the sleep mat. There were times they were stepped on. There were times when their heads were banged around; they were yanked up by their arms,” Sioux Falls Police Public Information Officer Sam Clemens said.

Police say the children involved are 3 and 4 year olds.

The two workers were arrested on 25 counts of abuse or cruelty to a minor.  They’re being held on a $25,000 bond.  They’re scheduled to make their first court appearance on Tuesday.  

Monday afternoon, Volunteers Of America issued the following statement on the situation at Little Blessings: 

At the end of February, 2018, a parent raised a concern to staff at Volunteers of America, Dakotas.  Volunteers of America, Dakotas immediately placed the involved staff on leave, investigated the concern, communicated with parents, and reported the matter to the authorities.   The involved staff are no longer employed by Volunteers of America, Dakotas.  Volunteers of America, Dakotas has been providing quality childcare for nearly 100 years in our community.  We continue to be committed to the safety and well-being of the children in our care.

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