Crime & Courts

Lawsuit: Toddlers abused at Emporia State child care center

The Butcher Education Center at Emporia State University.
The Butcher Education Center at Emporia State University. Courtesy photo

Four families have combined to file a lawsuit alleging child abuse by two former employees of an Emporia State University day care center.

According to a lawsuit filed Aug. 17 in Lyon County District Court, the lawsuit alleges that four “toddler-aged” children were abused physically and emotionally while being cared for at the university’s Center for Early Childhood Education.

The families, all from Emporia, are being represented, according to court documents, by the Goss Law Firm out of Kansas City.

The alleged abuses occurred, court documents said, between the spring of 2016 and June 2017 at the facility, which is located in the university’s Butcher Education Center.

Along with the university and the child care center, the filing also names Kimberly Schneider, a teacher at the time, and Keely Persinger, the center’s former director.

The families, who were not identified in court records, allege that the children were restrained with straps, had their arms “aggressively yanked and pulled,” and were yelled at in a “derogatory manner,” along with a number of other allegations.

In addition to a request for jury trial, the families are asking for damages in excess of $75,000 each on counts of negligent supervision, assault and battery.

In a news release, lawyers from the Goss firm said the allegations were investigated and “substantiated” by the Kansas Department of Children and Families. When contacted for confirmation, a representative of the department declined to talk about the allegations, citing child confidentiality laws.

When contacted for possible reaction to the lawsuit, Emporia State spokeswoman Gwen Larson said the university “does not comment on pending litigation.”

According to the university, Persinger served as the center’s director from June 2006 until May 24. Scheider was a teacher at the center from August 2008 until May 24.

On its website, the center describes itself as a child care facility that is affiliated with the university’s Teachers College.

Bryan Horwath: 316-269-6708, @bryan_horwath