The state suspended the licenses of two church-affiliated day care centers where children allegedly were sexually molested, forced to eat worms and pick each other’s noses during employee-led games of “Truth or Dare.”
The former director of the Kid’s Palace centers and one employee have been charged, and the investigation is continuing.
The emergency suspension order issued Thursday bars Kid’s Palace from reopening either center without appealing, said John Harrell, spokesman for the Florida Department of Children & Families.
“The suspension is due to the serious nature of the allegations,” he said.
Terry Bork, an attorney for Kid’s Palace, wouldn’t comment Friday.
The former director of the day care centers, Joshua Palin, 25, has been charged with molesting 10 children, some of them during what investigators said were twisted games of Truth or Dare. He is the son of the affiliated church’s pastor.
Palin was charged last month with molesting two girls, ages 12 and 13, and more charges were added this week after Clay County sheriff’s investigators interviewed children at the child care centers.
Palin is charged with “daring” children age 5 to 14 to fondle him or each other or to perform oral sex on each other over a one-year span ending last month.
The centers, which were licensed for 176 children, were operated by Faith Ministries. The church did not return calls Friday or earlier in the week. The church closed the day care centers June 15, but they could have been reopened without the license suspensions.
Palin is being held on $500,000 bond in the Clay County Jail. His attorney, Alan Rosner, said Palin has pleaded not guilty, but declined further comment.
Less serious charge for worker
“We intend to respond in the courtroom setting in regard to the allegations,” Rosner said.
A day care center worker, Tammy Sue Warren, 29, is free on $5,000 bond on a charge of lewd and lascivious exhibition. According to the DCF report, she lifted up her shirt during a game of Truth or Dare with the children. Her attorney, James Thies Sr., wouldn’t comment.
A third employee, Claudia Foster, was accused in the DCF report of making children eat worms, smell each other’s feet and pick each other’s noses during Truth or Dare.
Assistant State Attorney Rebecca Zima said she does not intend to prosecute Foster on those allegations, saying the actions did not rise to the level of criminal conduct. There was no answer Friday at Foster’s telephone number.