COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo .– A Colorado daycare owner convicted of hiding 26 children in her business basement two years ago has been sentenced to six years in prison after parents say some of the children had suffered trauma, including sleep problems and anxiety.
A judge sentenced Carla Faith on Thursday following her conviction by a jury in August of more than two dozen charges of child abuse and other crimes.
Faith was only allowed to care for six children at her private daycare in Colorado Springs and only two of them were allowed to be under 2 years old.
But police who visited their Mountain Play Place daycare in November 2019 after receiving reports that there were more children than allowed found 25 children in the basement, including 12 children under the age of 2. years, prosecutors said.
There were two adult employees supervising them in the basement and one of them, Valerie Fresquez, accepted a plea deal and testified at Faith’s trial, KRDO-TV reported. The 26th child in the basement was picked up by a parent while police were at daycare, authorities said.
According to an arrest affidavit, many children had soiled or wet diapers and were sweaty and thirsty.
When the police arrived, Faith repeatedly told an officer that there were no children and the house had no basement, but the officer heard children’s music. and a child’s cry from the basement, according to the affidavit.
Another officer discovered a false wall and moved it to reveal the basement staircase, according to the affidavit.
During Faith’s conviction on Thursday, the parents of the children and loved ones filled the courtroom, telling the judge their children had suffered trauma since they had been in daycare, citing problems sleeping and sleeping. anxiety, KOAA-TV reported.
Parent Kim Marshall said his two children are still receiving counseling.
âWe sleep with the lights on in our house,â she said. âMy children are anxious. They are afraid of the world.
Faith’s attorney, Josh Tolini, said she found it difficult to say “no” to parents who wanted to place their children in her daycare and that the situation had snowballed.
She made “incredibly bad decisions on how to proceed,” Tolini said.
Faith was convicted of 26 counts of child abuse, attempting to influence an official and obstructing a peace officer.
KRDO-TV reported that the charges against Fresquez will be dropped if she meets certain unspecified milestones.
Daycare worker Christina Swauger has been found guilty of the same charges as Faith and is awaiting sentencing.
An arrest warrant has been issued for another former daycare worker who failed to appear in court, said Howard Black, spokesperson for the 4th District Attorney’s Office in Colorado.