Serious accusations have been leveled against a child care center at Camp Lejeune.
The parents of an 11-month-old boy said an employee abused their son.
While Camp Lejeune confirmed an investigation took place, they said there was not sufficient evidence of criminal child abuse after reviewing surveillance video and conducting interviews.
The Schneider family does not agree.
“My wife calls me, and she’s in tears,” said Michael Schneider. “She says, ‘I’m in bumper-to-bumper traffic, and I have something extremely serious to talk to you about.’”
She told him that she saw their 11-month-old son, Ethan, get thrown across the room at his daycare, Heroes Manor One aboard Camp Lejeune, as she was getting ready to pick him up.
“I immediately stood up and I said, ‘Excuse me, say that again.’ And she said Ethan was thrown at school,” said Michael Schneider. “She was crying, and we were talking for a minute, and she was telling me the details.
The Schneiders said their son was picked up by a caregiver on his left forearm and thrown to the floor a distance of four feet.
Schneider called the daycare to speak with the director who told him PMO hadn’t been called because all supervisors had left for the day.
“The people who have the ability to make decisions should not be leaving at 3:30 on Monday,” said Michael Schneider. “ That was their excuse as to why they couldn’t call emergency services because this person had left, and we couldn’t be reached.”
So he did it himself.
While initial reports were taken, the caregiver in question, a civilian, was not arrested and will not face charges, according to MCCS officials.
After their review of surveillance footage, MCCS officials said they saw no evidence of criminal child abuse in the incident.
9 On Your Side reached out to the base about the procedures in place to safeguard the children.
In a statement, the base said that in the event of an incident: “The Child Development Center manager reviews the surveillance footage collected from four cameras located in every classroom. If the surveillance footage shows evidence of an inappropriate procedure or
child endangerment, the manager removes the caregiver from the classroom and
then notifies the Provost Marshall’s Office, Family Advocacy Program, and
Child Protective Services.”
Ethan is physically fine, but his parents worry about emotional trauma from the incident.
And Schneider said he’s more concerned that allegations are not prosecuted after they are made.
“If this happens again, will a parent have to be the one to initiate it or will the cdc initiate it,?” he asked. “That’s the main question, is how serious are they going to take it the next time it happens.”
MCCS officials said they are in the process of taking appropriate administrative action which could include retraining or even termination of employment.
The Schneiders said they are not done with this, and there are still questions they want answered.
The Schneiders said they feel it is an isolated incident, and they are pleased with the care their other child receives at Heroes Manor Two.