CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office has filed charges against two Springfield Township daycare workers.
Pamela Hartley, 56, of Cleves and Donna Scott, 31, of Cincinnati, are both charged with three counts of misdemeanor misrepresentation by child care provider and three counts of misdemeanor child endangering. The women were employees at the Springfield Township Covenant Apostolic Church Day Care and are accused of giving children at the daycare the dietary supplement Melatonin in order to help them sleep.
Hartley was the director of the day care and Scott was the lead infant teacher. Neither are currently working at the daycare.
If convicted of all charges, they face the possibility of 18 months in jail.
"I understand how upset the parents of these children must be," said Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters. "Daycare workers are responsible for a very valuable commodity and must be held to a high standard."
Several parents have filed lawsuits against the daycare.
"Springfield Township Police conducted a very lengthy investigation, the Prosecutor's office was also involved with that," said Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor Julie Wilson.
She said she has never come across a case quite like this in her 20-plus years in Cincinnati.
"It wasn't the kind of case that immediately jumped out at you," she said. "And said, Oh this is the kind of charge this should be, so we had to really look at all the facts carefully, look at the laws in the state of Ohio to find out, to figure out what would be the most appropriate charges."
Melatonin is not a controlled substance and the Prosecutor's Office said this was key in their analysis of this case.
"The good news is," Wilson said, "it's not a more serious kind of drug, but these charges allege that there was a risk to these children, there was a violation of some duty of care, owed to them, by giving them any kind of over the counter supplement without any doctor's instructions, or the parent's OK."
FOX19 did speak on the phone with Pastor Shelly Hendricks Wednesday. He did not want to comment any further than the prepared statement he gave back on December 15th. FOX19 asked Hendricks if his congregations is praying for the two women fired from his daycare. He paused and then would only say he'd be happy to talk further, once all of this is settled.