VIRGINIA

Worker at military daycare charged with abuse

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WJLA/AP) - Prosecutors have charged a Maryland woman with misdemeanor assault on a child for allegedly hitting toddlers under her care at a military daycare center.

A complaint filed Thursday at federal court in Alexandria alleges that 47-year-old Va Nessa Taylor of Temple Hills, Md., was seen on surveillance footage hitting and pushing four different children at the Child Development Center on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington.

The children ranged in age from 18 months to 2 years.

Prosecutors say the assaults occurred between January and November.

The investigation began after a co-worker reported that she had seen Taylor withholding a 2-year-old's lunch.

In 2012, three workers at the center were charged with misdemeanor assault on allegations of punching, pinching and hitting young children. Two were convicted.

Unsurprisingly, parents are upset at the allegations.

Day cares at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall are popular with military personnel. Large numbers drop their children off there on their way to work at the Pentagon. The Cody Child Development Center is the largest day care the military operates.

"I'm very surprised. I would not let my child stay there," said parent Samantha Flynn.

Flynn commented she thinks the charges are appropriate for what Taylor is accused of.

"I think that is correct -- I mean, they are hitting or assaulting a child, I agree with that," she said.

Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall announced "problems" with its background checks, and has reportedly removed dozens of workers at its child development centers.

Some parents say, though, it's too little, too late.

"They should have done a background check before they were hired," said parent Mbalu Samura. "That is kind of scary to me as a parent. I mean, who are we leaving our children too? That is totally irresponsible."

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