Two former workers at a Woodbridge day-care center have been indicted on dozens of counts related to the abuse of young children in their care.
Kierra N. Spriggs, 24, and Sarah A. Jordan, 29, former employees at Minnieland Academy at the Glen, were arrested in November on two counts each of assault and battery and cruelty to a child. A Prince William County grand jury this week dramatically expanded the charges against the women.
Detectives had launched the criminal investigation into the day care last fall after the Virginia Department of Social Services found that two workers had abused toddlers by spraying them with a full-pressure hose, feeding them Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and stepping on their toes.
According to the report, the two encouraged children to hit each other and, in the summer, dipped toddlers who were scared of water into a portable pool.
The report, which did not name the adults allegedly involved in the abuse, said the staffers mistreated the children “often for their own entertainment.”
When the women were initially arrested, authorities said the abuse involved three children, ages 1 to 2. It was not immediately clear whether the indictment involves additional victims.
James McCoart, a lawyer who represents some families at the center, said nearly 20 children have been involved in the police investigation.
“My goal is that these two defendants be prosecuted on every criminal charge that’s going against them,” McCoart said. “That’s what the families want. The families are grateful that law enforcement are continuing to work very hard on this case.”
Spriggs has been indicted on 57 charges, including numerous counts of child cruelty and assault and battery. Jordan faces 39 counts.
Both defendants appeared Tuesday in a brief hearing in Prince William County Circuit Court. Spriggs’s attorney told the judge his client is eight months pregnant. The attorney, Patrick Foltz, declined to comment on the charges outside court.
Jordan’s attorney, Adrian Showells, could not be reached for comment.
Minnieland officials said in a previous statement that they “deeply regret” the incidents and that the two workers were immediately fired when the conduct came to light. Officials said they contacted child protective services and the division of licensing.
According to the state report, the children who were mistreated suffered “ongoing physical, emotional and psychological maltreatment in the classroom” and were “clearly in distress.”