Two former employees of a day care center on a Georgia Air Force base, and the center's former day care director, have been indicted on child abuse-related charges after they allegedly sprayed children in the face with cleaning liquid, forced them to fight each other, kicked a child into a wall, struck one in the head with a book and stepped on a child’s leg, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.
A federal grand jury handed down a 30-count indictment alleging that former Robins Air Force Base day care employees Zhanay Kiana Flynn, 27, and Antanesha Mone Fritz, 29, abused children in their care in January and February 2021.
The indictment also alleges Flynn and Fritz committed simple battery against the children by lifting up a cot a child was sleeping on, causing them to fall, and knocking a toy out of a child's hand and forcing them into a "small enclosure."
The indictment charged Flynn, Fritz and former day care director Latona Mae Lambert, 51, with one count each of failing to report suspected child abuse.
Flynn and Fritz were also each charged with 18 counts of cruelty to children in the first degree, six counts of cruelty to children in the second degree and three counts of simple battery.
If convicted, the three could each face up to a year in prison for failure to report suspected child abuse; Flynn and Fritz could also face up to an additional 20 years in prison for each count of first degree cruelty to children, 10 years for each count of second degree cruelty to children, and one year for each count of simple battery.
“Properly caring for our Airmen and their families is of utmost importance," a spokesperson for Robins Air Force Base said in a statement. "Our Airmen should have confidence in the care provided at our Child Development Center. We are fully supporting the ongoing investigation and reviewing processes to ensure the appropriate measures are in place to safeguard our children.”
An investigation into the allegations is ongoing by the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations and Air Force Security Forces, with support from the FBI, according to the Justice Department.
According to the Department of Defense, child care centers on military bases are randomly inspected at least four times a year and receive accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children or a similar body.