Skip to main content

Day care workers accused of orchestrating toddler fight

By Pauline Kim, CNN
updated 7:51 PM EDT, Tue August 21, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Police arrested Tiana Harris, 19, Estefania Myers, 21, and Lisa Parker, 47
  • They were charged with assault, reckless endangering, endangering the welfare of a child
  • The women and the day care center could not be immediately reached for comment

(CNN) -- Three Delaware day care workers were arrested after police got hold of a "disturbing" and "shocking" cell phone video that, authorities say, shows two toddlers taking part in a fight the workers had organized.

Police said Tuesday that they arrested Tiana Harris, 19; Estefania Myers, 21; and Lisa Parker, 47, who have been charged with assault, reckless endangerment, endangering the welfare of a child and conspiracy.

Estefiana Myers, 21
Estefiana Myers, 21
Tiana Harris, 19
Tiana Harris, 19
Lisa Parker, 47
Lisa Parker, 47

On Saturday, authorities responded to an unrelated incident and a person whom police would not identify showed them video of the 3-year-old boys fighting in March.

The toddlers were not seriously injured, but they were "clearly hurting each other," said Dover Police Capt. Tim Stump.

Authorities have not released the video but say one day care worker said "No pinching, only punching" after one of the boys complained that the other had pinched him.

The video purportedly shows seven other children seated in the room with their backs to the fighting, according to police.

"It's not like they didn't know what was going on, and they were just encouraging them to continue," Stump said. "One of the children attempted to run, but one of the teachers pushes him back into the fray.

"We are looking into the possibility that this was not the first time it happened, but it appears to be isolated, and it seems the administration was in the dark about this," he added.

Police made the arrests Monday and addressed the incident that evening with parents and guardians of the children who attended the day care center.

A spokesman for the state Division of Family Services said the agency dispatched an institutional abuse investigator to work with Dover police during their investigation.

"Depending on our findings, these women could be prohibited from working in the public sector, especially with children or senior citizens," agency spokesman Joseph Smack said, adding that all three women had passed background checks before their employment at the center.

"It's rare to see a case like this where the staff encouraged this type of behavior," Smack said.

Calls to the day care center were not returned, though police say the company's business license has been suspended.

The three suspects and their attorneys could not be immediately reached for comment.

Police said the women have posted $10,000 bail and are awaiting trial.

More from CNN Justice

U.S. Open tennis ref charged with killing husband

More body parts found in Toronto area

Woman held captive in basement sues city

Medical examiner rules death of handcuffed suspect a suicide

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT