PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Two local mothers have hired an attorney over allegations that their children were assaulted at a child care facility in Penn Hills.
Attorney Todd Hollis has been hired to represent the mothers in a lawsuit over allegations that their children were assaulted by a worker at the East Pittsburgh KinderCare Learning Center in Penn Hills.
Elisha Terrell’s 2-year-old daughter is one of the alleged victims.
“I’m really upset and sad that my daughter had to go through this and experience something like this at such a very young age,” Terrell said.
Investigators say Edlyzsa Bell-Cole’s 2-year-old son was also a victim.
“My child is 2 years old, and he is innocent, ” Bell-Cole said. “How could someone want to do something like that? It’s still overwhelming.”
Both of their children had been enrolled at the facility for a few months.
The mothers were told by Allegheny County Children, Youth and Families back in May — not KinderCare — about a police investigation involving the alleged abuse of their children by 27-year-old KinderCare worker Renee Grum.
Grum reportedly told the male child to shut up when he would cry, sprayed him with a water from a bottle and picked him up by the arms and struck him against wooden lockers.
The criminal complaint indicates Grum picked up the little girl by her arms and slammed her down onto the floor.
“As part of our standard process, we placed Ms. Grum on administrative leave,” the KinderCare Corporate Office in Portland, Ore. told KDKA. “She has not been in our center since May and no longer works for KinderCare.”
According to police, Grum gave multiple reasons for her behavior, including personal stress, inconsistency with help in the classroom and a recent move to a new residence.
Investigators say Grum also mentioned she has spoken to her family about considering some sort of treatment for her severe stress.
Grum also told police she didn’t mean to do anything wrong, and she is sorry.
“If what they say is true, this person should no longer have any access to children,” Hollis said. “I think KinderCare bears some responsibility. They should retrain and rehire.”
Hollis will file a lawsuit as soon as the criminal case ends. Grum has a preliminary hearing in Penn Hills on July 29.
Grum is facing charges for assault and endangering the welfare of children.