A Carson City day-care owner was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of taping shut the mouths of two children in August, a case that prompted the victim's mother to seek changes in Nevada law.
Norma Childers, 54, is charged with two counts of felony abuse, neglect or endangerment of a child without substantial bodily harm. She was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon at Sugar and Spice Preschool and Day Care, 1987 Hot Springs Road.
Childers, who is licensed to operate the day-care center, taped shut the mouths of a 3-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy before they were put down for a nap on Aug. 19, 2004, according to a criminal complaint filed in Carson City Justice Court.
The allegations came about after an employee at the facility reported the incident to the Carson City Health Department. The employee, who said she'd worked at the center since July, reportedly told investigators she witnessed Childers place purple tape over the juveniles' mouths when she allegedly became upset over noise the children were making.
Childers' bail was set at $10,000.
Carson City businesswoman Teri Basa, whose daughter is one of the alleged victims, testified before the Assembly Health and Human Services Committee on March 23, urging lawmakers to criminalize physical punishment in child-care centers.
The committee is continuing to review AB200 which would make it a misdemeanor for any day-care worker to "inflict physical punishment, in any manner or form ... including ... placing duct tape or any other adhesive tape on or over the mouth of a child."
Basa said Wednesday she was under the impression that the Carson City District Attorney's Office had declined to prosecute, but District Attorney Noel Waters said the case hadn't been charged yet because it was still under investigation. He said the allegations clearly indicate child abuse.
"That would have to be very terrifying to a little kid to have their mouth taped, and it's dangerous," Waters said. "You can't duct tape a child's mouth shut, my goodness."
When Basa learned of Childers' arrest, her initial reaction was to feel sorry, she said.
"I'm happy a wrong will be righted," she said after some thought. "I felt like no one cared."
In 2000, Childers and her husband, Michael, were found not guilty by a jury on felony abuse and neglect charges at Nevada Cares, a nursing home in Carson City. The Nevada Attorney General's Office prosecuted the case in which a 78-year-old patient allegedly had pressure sores on her body and a fungi-like mold on her dentures and in her mouth. Michael Childers was owner of the facility, Norma Childers was the administrator.
Contact reporter F.T. Norton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1213.