‘Numerous’ other kids allegedly hurt at Cincinnati daycare where toddler’s hair pulled from scalp

Just one day of footage allegedly showed multiple instances of abuse. Law enforcement has a month’s worth.
Cincinnati daycare ordered to cease operations after alleged assault
Cincinnati daycare ordered to cease operations after alleged assault
Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 5:42 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - New allegations of violence are swirling around Small Kids Adventures Learning Center in West Price Hill.

Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services inspection reports show multiple additional instances of alleged abuse at the daycare where prosecutors say an employee ripped a 1-year-old’s ponytail out in early March.

The other allegations were uncovered in video footage obtained while authorities were pursuing charges against that daycare worker, Kristian Hemmit, according to an ODJFS report obtained by FOX19.

Hemmit’s charges stem from an incident on March 3, according to Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters. She is accused of carrying the girl across the room by the hair and then jerking her back and forth, ripping the hair from her scalp. An ODJFS report says the girl was also thrown to the ground.

On March 24, the ODJFS licensing agent reviewed footage of Hemmit from Feb. 10 alongside a caseworker, two prosecutors, two detectives, the police sergeant and the police captain, per the report.

“While reviewing the video, the alleged perpetrator is observed hitting a child with a toy causing the child to fall backwards, smack a child, grab a child by the front neck/throw child down to carpet, slam a child’s hand in the door, hit child in head with dust pan, grab two children by the back of the neck/drop them to the floor, throw a kid in a toy bin, slam a child to the floor, push a child’s head down, and make a child sit in a feeding table for more than 1.5 hours,” the licensing agent wrote in the report.

In the same viewing session, the licensing agent says she watched another daycare employee—not Hemmit—”grab a child by one arm and drop the child to the floor.”

The report summarizes law enforcement’s appraisal of the day’s worth of footage: “[I]t appears that numerous children were harmed and multiple staff members were observed harming children.”

Law enforcement has video footage from Feb. 10-March-10, 2022, per the report. Detectives have been assigned to review footage “around the clock” to document evidence of abuse, neglect, endangerment and other criminal offenses.

The daycare’s license was previously revoked in 2018. Its first ODJFS inspection as a newly licensed daycare came in October 2019. Inspections since then have shown repeated rule violations, including a chronic failure to perform background checks and incomplete records-keeping.

An ODJFS inspection in January 2020 was launched upon a complaint that an unidentified daycare staff member had “yelled at children and used inappropriate words to redirect behavior,” according to the complaint summary.

The ODJFS report on that complaint says children were not properly fed, watched, cared for or treated. “They are not getting fed at all,” the inspector writes. “[Redacted] are not getting a snack and even when picked up at 7 or 8 they do not get a meal.”

The inspector notes concern that the teacher in question was not mentally or intellectually able to care for the children.

“Children are not safe,” the inspector writes.

ODJFS suspended the daycare’s license on March 29. The center will remain closed until the investigation is complete and a final determination of its license status is made.

Hemmitt was arrested March 19. She remains at the justice center on bail totaling $170,000 across her charges.

Parents who suspect their child might be a victim are urged to call Cincinnati Police Detective McCoy or Detective Delk at 513-263-8300.

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