JOLIET, Ill. (CBS) — Five-year-olds can be precocious, but who in their right mind would hit a pre-schooler in the face? According to police: a volunteer working at a Catholic Charities daycare in Joliet.
CBS 2’s Brad Edwards spoke with the mother whose child was allegedly struck by the 73-year-old volunteer.
The teacher told police she heard the volunteer say “don’t” and then strike the child with a fist.
“It’s an emotion you can’t explain when something happen to your child you think you leave him at a safe place,” said Shakelha Jamison, mother of 5-year-old Savon. “He’s been at the school for two years.”
It happened at Catholic Charities’ Felman Early Childhood Center in Joliet.
Deputy Police Chief Ed Gregory says that a teacher witnessed the incident and that 73-year-old volunteer Lillie Stephen was arrested and charged.
“She is not allowed back on the property and she will not be working at the school,” Gregory said.
Catholic Charities released a statement saying in part, “Catholic Charities in no way condones hitting a child, ever, no matter what the circumstance.”
They told CBS 2 all volunteers are rigorously pre-screened, but we learned, in 2007, Joliet police arrested Stephen, who failed to appear in court on a charge of resisting a peace officer.
Catholic Charities said it was unaware of that case.
Jamison has now pulled her kids from the school and is desperate to find daycare while working full time.
“As a mother you always ask: What you can do better to protect your kids? and I don’t even know,” she said.
The volunteer was arrested, charged and released and facing a misdemeanor battery charge.