Olakunle Omomowo is known by his preschool students as Mr. Ola. Now, the 38-year-old man is facing two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation for allegedly touching the vaginal area under the clothing of two little girls, authorities said.
It happened numerous times in a classroom at Discovery Preschool in Coconut Creek, according to the arrest affidavit. Omomowo taught music there.
One of the students told her mother "Mr. Ola tickles me in my colita.” According to the affidavit, that term is used in their household referring to the “butt and genital area.”
"There could be more charges coming from what I can see,” Broward Circuit Judge John Hurley told Omomowo in court Tuesday. He added, “These are first-degree felonies punishable up to life in prison.”
Craig Giganti, the father of a child at the school, spoke about his concern.
"At this point you don’t know how to bring it up to your kid and handle it and make sure that your kid wasn’t involved. That's the scare from a parent,” he said.
A nanny, who would not give her name, came to the teacher's defense, saying that Omomowo is “a very nice person.” She said she is not concerned about him because she doesn’t believe he did anything.
Simone Morsillo is a former music teacher at Discovery Preschool who says she quit and is now suing the school.
"Kids don’t lie. Sometimes they lie here and there, but little kids like this, I don’t know. I feel sorry for the parents," Morsillo said.
After Omomowo was arrested May 4, he was terminated from Discovery Preschool. Before that he had been placed on paid administrative leave for two weeks, when a parent reported her child had been touched. Since then three more students have come forward.
“Discovery Preschool is committed to providing high-quality child care and learning opportunities in a safe, nurturing environment, and our most important responsibility is to ensure the health and safety of the children in our care,” the school said in a statement. “We are taking this situation very seriously, and we immediately notified the appropriate authorities as well as the families we serve as soon as the concerns were brought to our attention. We are supporting everyone involved to ensure a thorough investigation into this situation and will continue to support the children and families that we serve in every way we can.”
In court on Tuesday Omomowo's attorney stated that Discovery Preschool is paying his legal bills.
The school is one of Bright Horizons children's centers. Bridget Perry, a spokesperson for Bright Horizons, told NBC 6 there is an insurance policy in place that allows employees to access legal representation. The representation does not end because an employee is terminated.
Arrest documents show Omomowo started working at Discovery Preschool in May 2012, but left and then worked at Phyls Academy Preschool in Lauderdale Lakes. He was rehired at Discovery in March 2013.
Omomowo's wife, in-laws and pastor were at the Tuesday hearing in support of him.
He is being held at the Broward County Main Jail on no bond, online jail records showed.
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