The two were employees of Little Blessings Learning Center, where a child had told their mother in late February that an employee had banged his head on a mat while he was sleeping.
Teresa Gallagher, 31, and Kenedi Wendt, 22, were both charged with 25 counts of abuse or cruelty to a minor on Friday, said police spokesman Sam Clemens.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Two employees of a Sioux Falls day care were arrested after video footage showed them repeatedly abusing young children by slamming them to the ground, yanking them by their arms and stomping on them.
The parents reported the incident to the Department of Social Services, Clemens said, who contacted the day care, after which an internal investigation resulted in Gallagher and Wendt being fired.
Clemens said it wasn't clear what was causing the abuse — even a slight movement from a child could result in them being picked up several feet off the ground and slammed onto a sleep mat, being stepped on, having their arms yanked or their heads banged around.
The department then contacted police, and in early March a detective obtained video footage from the day care spanning the dates of Feb. 14 to Feb. 23. that showed Gallagher and Wendt had been systematically abusing the children during nap time.
The video was pretty clear, but it was tough to figure out why this took place," Clemens said. "All of it seemed to be happening really just kind of because."
Clemens said video showed that while the abuse did not happen every day, it appeared that the majority of the children in the room — all between the ages of 3 and 4 — were victimized.
No children required medical care, Clemens said, but some had complained of back pain or headaches.
Clemens said he wasn't sure how long the two had been employed by the day care.
Clemens said during interviews, but before the video footage had been viewed, multiple parents had said their child had mentioned not liking nap time.
Trevor Mitchell | (Sioux Falls, S.D.) Argus Leader
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