Employee at Hickman day care sprayed child in face with soap, sheriff’s office says

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – An employee at a Hickman day care was arrested after spraying a child in the face with soap several times, the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office said.

On Saturday, deputies were sent to The Tree House, a child care center in Hickman.

When deputies arrived, they discovered that a 3-year-old child had been sprayed in the face with a water-soap solution three times.

On Friday morning, 29-year-old employee Courtney Anderson of Lincoln, sat the child in a corner, grabbed a bottle and sprayed them in the face, the sheriff’s office said. Authorities said the child visibly reacted to being sprayed.

Anderson then wiped down a table before going back to spray the child’s face two more times, the sheriff’s office said.

Investigators reported that the child’s eyes were red and irritated that evening.

Anderson was arrested on suspicion of felony child abuse.  The Tree House said Anderson has since been fired.

This isn’t the first time The Tree House has been investigated.

In 2018, a Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services inspection found the center in violation of five standards.

In 2019, inspectors were informed of a complaint that alleged several violations, including that the center did not sanitize its toys; that staff pushed and violently grabbed children, as well as spanking them and yelling at them; and that children ages 3 to 5 were punished by being restrained in highchairs.

The complaint also alleged that all children, both boys and girls, used the same restroom; that diapers and changing stations were not sanitized; and that cleaning chemicals were within reach of children throughout the day.

In an investigation, an inspector met with the director of the facility and confirmed the yelling part of the complaint, before correcting the problem at the inspection.

The inspector was unable to substantiate the rest of the allegations.

During another unannounced inspection in July, there were no violations found.

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