A woman accused of beating an infant at a Fort Lauderdale day care made her first appearance in court Monday, as the child's father said he witnessed the entire incident.
Seeta Roopchand, 61, pleaded not guilty to battery charges in the Feb. 25 incident at Precious Promise Academy. Roopchand and her attorney refused to speak after the hearing but her attorney issued a statement.
"The video presented to the police, the state attorney’s office and myself appears to have been modified in an effort to give the viewer an inaccurate depiction of what occurred," the statement said. "My client is a good woman who has successfully raised children of her own, I am confident that my client will be exonerated.”
The father of the child, Pail Jagielski, attended the hearing in Broward County Court. He said his son was just seven months old at the time of the alleged incident.
“It’s kind of thrown my family for a loop because of it," he said.
Jagielski said he actually watched the entire incident happen. When he walked into the building he said he instantly knew something was wrong.
“I went to pick up my son early, around 2 o’clock, it happened to be nap time," he said. “I could hear an infant or a child crying so I started looking at the monitors to figure out which kid was crying.”
Jagielski said he found a monitor and watched in disbelief.
“It was actually very disturbing to me so I took out my cell phone and I started recording because I didn’t like what was going on. I witnessed the lady shoving the kid’s head down into the mat of the crib she was shaking it hard enough for the kid to be going side to side," he said.
Jagielski finally realized it was his son when he heard a distinct scream.
"At that time my son let out a shriek and that’s when I knew it was him. I know that cry and what it means," he said.
He said he immediately went in and grabbed his son and got the police involved, showed detectives the video he took from inside Precious Promise, and Roopchand was arrested.
“The defendant physically forcing the infant’s head onto the mat inside a crib and rocking the crib back and forth in an aggressive manner," the police report states. "He had bruises on his ribs, on his back and his butt."
Jagielski said it’s been nothing short of a nightmare for his family.
"We had to take him to get CAT Scans, X-Rays and everything else," he said. "We have no friends no family down here we moved from Philly. My wife has lost her job because we can’t trust anyone with our child anymore."
Roopchand is no longer working for the day care.