As a result of an investigation conducted by the Roanoke Rapids Police Department that began in November, two teachers at pre-school in Roanoke County have been charged with child abuse.
Tyesha Pearson, age 23, and Olivia Ulrich, age 32, have both been charged with misdemeanor child abuse following the investigation into a complaint of child abuse at the Gingerbread House of the Roanoke Valley.
According to warrant information, a single complaint of abuse launched the investigation. Law enforcement searched the facility, collected documents, surveillance video and took statements.
Accusations in the warrant include Pearson allegedly aggressively pinching a 2-year-old child in November and in March of last year. The warrant on Pearson says that she “caused a mark on the child’s body and (the injury) was inflicted by (actions) other than accidental means.”
Allegations against Ulrich include her yanking a 2-year-old around, which resulted in a bruise on the child’s forehead. The warrant on Ulrich state the injury “was inflicted by other than accidental means.”
Pearson was issued a $1,000 bond and Ulrich a $2,000 bond. Their next court appearances are on Feb. 5, 2020, in Halifax County District Court.
Pearson worked at the school for just two months. Ulrich had been an employee for four years. Both have both been fired, however, it has been reported by one outlet that Pearson apparently returned to work the day she was fired for up to five hours and was allowed to supervise kids at the school.
The investigation has not been closed and Police Chief Bobby Martin said that four more complaints have been filed by parents. Martin is asking for parents to be observant of their child’s behavior and their physical condition.
“If you have a child and you see bumps, bruises, marks or anything like that and things seem to be out of place or out of the norm, listen to your child,” Martin said.
“Some children that are at 2 years old can tell you when they’ve been hurt. If you ask them, ‘Hey, how was your day in preschool today?’ and if they tell you, ‘Well, I got hurt today,’ delve into that and find out what happened,” said Martin.
Roanoke police are working with the North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education on the investigation.
The school is located at 515 Becker Drive in Roanoke Rapids. The space is rented and belongs to First Baptist Church.
The Gingerbread House’s Director/Owner is Tammy Moseley.
“I am absolutely disgusted by both of the teachers’ actions,” Moseley told multiple media outlets last week. “I terminated Pearson immediately and Ulrich was already gone from the facility when the complaint about her surfaced.”
In a CBS 17 interview, Moseley said she was “heartbroken” by the charges against her employees.
“I would’ve never videotaped someone hurting a child, and stood back and did nothing,” Moseley said in the interview. “It was just awful.”
Moseley has also confirmed that both women passed a background check.
But it gets worse for the Gingerbread House, according to the same report the school has been cited for multiple violations in the last two years:
Records show that, since 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services has inspected Gingerbread House 15 times and found violations on nine occasions.
Gingerbread House was cited for six violations this year.
“Everything was fixed,” Moseley told CBS 17. “Everything was fixed on there. It just looks bad because we had back-to-back violations for a couple of months because every time they came back, they found something small again.”
According to the CBS 17 report, at least one of the alleged abuse instances was caught on cameras that were installed to prevent such incidents from happening.
While Pearson and Ulrich are private preschool teachers and not state-paid education employees, their positions as teachers have landed them as arrests number 61 and 62 on this website’s Quiet Epidemic list for 2019.
2019 is coming to an end.
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