A lawsuit filed Monday in Broward Circuit Court alleges that a 4-year-old girl was molested by three boys at her Hollywood preschool.
The girl was in the bathroom when the boys touched her in a sexually inappropriate manner and one or more boys then urinated on her, according to attorney Jeff Herman and the girl’s mother. They held a news conference to announce the suit Monday outside of Academics & U Preschool on Sheridan Street, where they say the abuse took place March 29.
"I work every day hard, and I'm thinking that my child would be protected and not be around such vulgar activities from other kids," said the mother, who asked not to be identified.
Preschool manager Cesar Alvarez denied that the abuse occurred at Academics & U and claims that police found no evidence. He said the girl pointed at three kids, "so the police didn't believe her."
Alvarez said the three boys are 3, 5 and 9 years old.
Alvarez said both Hollywood Police and the Florida Department of Children and Families were called about the alleged incident. Police said Monday that they went to the center and determined that no further investigation was needed on their part but forwarded the case to DCF.
DCF said in a statement that it would not release its findings for the molestation claim. However, the agency said the center was cited by Broward County Child Care Licensing and Enforcement "for failing to comply with adequate ratios of adult supervisors to children and must provide additional training of its staff."
An inspector in the Child Care Licensing and Enforcement Section of Broward's Human Services Department failed the preschool after her routine visit to check on it April 9, according to her report.
She said she saw school-aged children running throughout the building, including two children who were in the bathroom and nine who were in the hall without a staff member, even though no child is supposed to be left alone without supervision, she wrote. The report also says that staffers yelled and threatened kids to discipline them on two occasions.
"Because you fail an inspection report that does not mean that a horrible crime like that happened at the center," Alvarez said.
The boys are still attending the school, he said.
The girl's mother said her daughter is in therapy and wants money to pay for her treatment.
"These people need to pay for what they did to my child," she said. "My child is petrified to go to the bathroom by herself, she cries at night. She has nightmares."