ALLENDALE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) – Ottawa County and state authorities are investigating allegations that an Allendale Township day care worker may have assaulted three children.
On Feb. 19, a child stopped breathing at Rainbow Child Care on Edgewater Drive off of Lake Michigan Drive. The 3-month-old boy was hospitalized in Grand Rapids, treated and released.
During the investigation into that incident, authorities became aware of allegations that a 22-year-old female staffer at the day care may have assaulted three children under the age of 1. Authorities said two of the alleged victims are in the same family.
Officials with the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office say they became aware of the allegations when parents contacted police after being notified by the day care.
“I think it’s serious. Any time there are allegations of children either being assaulted or a child stops breathing, you have to get answers,” Capt. Mark Bennett told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “Why did that occur?”
The staffer in question has been placed on leave.
The case will go to the Ottawa County Prosecutor’s Office following the completion of the investigation for a decision on what, if any, charges are appropriate.
Officials at the day care center declined to comment Tuesday, but released this statement through a Grand Rapids public relations firm:
“Last week, personnel at our Allendale center noticed a child with labored breathing. Staff immediately contacted emergency authorities and the child’s parents. We continue to work with the parents and the appropriate authorities as we investigate the cause of the incident. “We were also recently made aware of potential misconduct by an employee. We take any accusation extremely seriously, and immediately placed the individual on administrative leave and notified state authorities, as well as the families involved as soon as those names became available to us. We continue to work with the state during the investigation, and are conducting our own internal investigation.”
The father of the child that was taken to the hospital called what happened to his son an “unfortunate mistake.” He said he did not believe anyone at the day care intended to hurt his child but declined to elaborate as to what caused his breathing troubles. He said his family is still considering whether they’ll use Rainbow for child care in the future, but says he has no animosity against the center or its staff.