RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A South Richmond daycare worker is facing two counts of simple assault, after parents say their children came home with nasty bruises.
Maria West, 50, is accused of pinching two children both under the age of five years old, at the All Saints Apostolic Church daycare off Royall Avenue. She's now facing two simple assault charges.
Sharee Bates says her son Dayshawn, 2, came home with more than a dozen bruises over the course of a year. Bates confronted management at All Saints Apostolic Church after Dayshawn's first bruise. She says a supervisor told her another child had bit him.
"She would say... 'We saw the kid come down and bite him with our own two eyes,'" recalls Bates.
However, the bruises kept surfacing on Dayshawn's arm. Bates says when she asked supervisors again what was going on, they told her they hadn't seen anything and didn't know what caused the bruising.
After Dayshawn suffered bruises twice in one week earlier this month, Bates pulled him out of the daycare. That night, she discovered an anonymous note in his book bag, from another teacher at the school.
"Dear Dayshawn's parents," read Bates from the note. "I'm sorry to tell you this, but Ms. West has been pinching him on a daily basis. I didn't want to say anything because I didn't want to lose my job."
Bates went straight to Richmond police. "It hurts that [Dayshawn] was getting hurt and wasn't able to tell me."
NBC12 also spoke to another family, who says their five-year-old grandson was badly bruised on his arm, torso and inner thigh.
Officers charged Maria West with two counts of simple assault, for Dayshawn and the other child. The Virginia Department of Social Services is also investigating the daycare.
A manager at the All Saints Apostolic Church daycare tells NBC12 she was unaware of the charges and wouldn't confirm whether West was still an employee.
Anyone with information about the incident can call Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000.
Copyright 2017 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.