Pinellas County

Daycare worker charged with child abuse in Clearwater

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) - A daycare worker was fired and charged with child abuse after a parent complained 28-year-old Latia Cassaway aggressively handled her child, causing injury.

The parent contacted the Clearwater Police Department.

Cassaway was working at La Petite Academy in Clearwater.

"We received a complaint about an injury to one child. Started looking into it," said Chief Dan Slaughter.

According to detectives, security cameras captured Cassaway tossing a child like a rag doll last month.

"She grabbed him by the arm and forces him to sit down and jerks him really hard to the point that they get whipped around to where it excessive," said Slaughter.

Investigators learned there were other victims.

"We actually identified five to seven other kids that had suffered from this kind of behavior," Slaughter said.

No one answered the door at Cassaway's listed address.

In a statement from La Petitie's communication director, Lydia Cisaruk said:

We take our responsibility as a caregiver very seriously. We have strict policies and procedures to make certain we meet or exceed state guidelines. Our employees are required to follow these protocols. We don't tolerate deviation from our standards of care. This staff member redirected children in a manner inconsistent with company policy. Her actions fell below our standards.  This person is no longer employed with us. The legal process will determine whether the charges are appropriate.
We remain committed to ensuring our children receive high quality early education in a safe and nurturing learning environment.


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