Baldwin Park, FL –A childcare center in Florida reached a settlement agreement with the Department of Children and Families, after two families filed lawsuits alleging that a teacher sexually abused their sons.
In order to remain in operation, Bright Horizons was required to pay a $700 fine and was placed on probation for six months, WFTV said.
The families’ civil lawsuits and an Orlando Police criminal investigation were not affected by the settlement.
In June, on behalf of a 3-year-old victim’s family, attorney Jeff Herman filed lawsuits against Bright Horizons and one of the school’s former teachers.
Herman filed additional lawsuits in July, after a 4-year-old victim’s family came forward with their own allegations.
He said the victims were in the same preschool class at Bright Horizons.
“What these boys are alleging is as dark as it gets in terms of sexual abuse,” Herman told the Orlando Sentinel .
The teacher, Jayrico Hamilton, was hired by Bright Horizons in 2016.
In September, the court ruled that Bright Horizons was not responsible for Hamilton’s actions, but that the school could be liable for negligent hiring practices and employee supervision issues, WFTV said.
The Department of Children and Families’ investigation concluded that Bright Horizons did not perform adequate background checks before they hired Hamilton.
Before he worked for Bright Horizons, Hamilton was charged with two counts of misdemeanor domestic battery and assault on a family member, along with bomb threats, a spokesperson for the Virginia commonwealth attorney told WFTV.
The charges were dismissed after Hamilton completed a two-year diversion program.
In 2012, he was convicted of making a bomb threat, the Orlando Sentinel said.
According to the lawsuit, Hamilton was fired from a Virginia daycare center after allegations of child physical abuse.
“Being eligible doesn’t mean you’re safe and you’re hirable and you should be hired,” Herman told WFTV. “If someone did a criminal background check on Jayrico right now, he’s not been convicted of sexual abuse, not a registered sex offender. Does that mean he’s safe? No, because you have to look further.”
Bright Horizons fired Hamilton in May.
The school’s director resigned a short while later, WFTV said.
An Orlando Police criminal investigation is ongoing.