Suit filed against Coconut Creek pre-school alleging sexual abuse
07/10/2013 5:46 PM
07/10/2013 6:29 PM
A preschool teacher already facing felony molestation charges was accused of abusing another little girl in suit filed this week against the Coconut Creek preschool where he worked.
Parents of a 5-year-old Broward girl say Olakunle Omomowo, 38, touched their daughter’s genital area and that Discovery Preschool Center was negligent in preventing abuse and handling allegations. The suit didn’t name the plaintiffs to protect the child’s identity.
To date no criminal charges have been filed in this case or any others, following felony charges for the molestation of one child filed last month.
In total eight children have reported abuse at the preschool on Regency Lakes Boulevard in Coconut Creek, according to Jeff Herman, the parents’ attorney.
“These kids are so young — it’s such a violation toward them,” Herman said. “We’ve got to hold these places where kids are kept accountable.”
Omomowo was arrested June 5 and faces first-degree and capital sex felony charges for three counts of lewd and lascivious molestation. He’s expected to be arraigned on one of the offenses on July 15 in Broward County.
Omomowo worked as a music teacher at the preschool until December 2012 and again since March, according to the complaint. He was left alone with children while teaching in various classrooms and during naptime, Herman said.
Parents of the 5-year-old said she started complaining about pain in her genital area and expressing reluctance to attend the preschool earlier this year. She later told them Omomowo touched her genitals and buttocks while playing a game, according to the complaint.
“We are taking this situation very seriously, and we immediately notified the appropriate authorities as well as the families we serve as soon as the concerns were brought to our attention,” a spokesperson for Discovery Preschool Center said in a prepared statement. “We are supporting everyone involved to ensure a thorough investigation into this situation and will continue to support the children and families that we serve in every way we can.”
The suit claimed that Discovery didn’t immediately disclose the teacher’s name to parents, stating that only a “specialty teacher” had been accused of inappropriate touching. Preschool administrators “attempted to minimize the nature and scope” of abuse and tried to dissuade parents from allowing their children to relate their abuse to others, according to the complaint .
“A lot of these parents were left in the dark, including parents whose kids turned out to be sexually abused. These parents could’ve gotten kids help even sooner,” Herman said.
The lawsuit also alleges that teachers had an excessive workload resulting in lax supervision.
Last month, parents of a 4-year-old girl also sued the preschool for negligence, claiming that Omomowo fondled their daughter’s vagina under the pretext of playing a game.
Herman said he plans to file additional civil suits against Discovery Preschool Center, which is operated by Massachusetts-based Bright Horizons Children’s Centers LLC.
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