Warrants accuse DeKalb day care employees of ‘cruel and excessive’ abuse

Alexis Renee Swain and Cherretta Hull are accused of abusing several children at the Appletree Learning Center and Academy.

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Alexis Renee Swain and Cherretta Hull are accused of abusing several children at the Appletree Learning Center and Academy.

3 Appletree Learning Center and Academy workers charged

Several children were hit, pulled, jerked and slammed by two DeKalb County day care employees who were charged late last month, according to arrest warrants obtained Tuesday.

Alexis Renee Swain, 25, and Cherretta Odel Hull, 76, are charged with first-degree cruelty to children, and Cassandra Artis Chambers, 54, is charged with failure to report suspected child abuse in connection with an allegation at the Appletree Learning Center and Academy along East Ponce de Leon Avenue, DeKalb police spokeswoman Officer Elise Wells said.

Explore3 employees arrested after report of ‘inappropriate discipline’ at DeKalb day care

An arrest warrant obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution accused Swain of causing nine children “cruel and excessive mental or physical pain” on June 22 by jerking a kid’s arms, pulling a child out of a chair and crib by one arm, striking another child with an open hand, slamming one into a wooden chair, grabbing a child “aggressively” and moving them from one seat to another, hitting one on the stomach, smacking another in the forehead, covering a kid with a blanket, and striking another on the arm multiple times.

Hull is accused of “maliciously” causing seven children “cruel and excessive mental or physical pain” on the same day by hitting a child in the face, hitting one with a baby bottle, slamming another into a sitting position onto the floor, completely covering a kid with a blanket during nap time, striking two children multiple times, and shaking another, according to her warrant.

Chambers is said to have reviewed video footage of day care students being assaulted multiple times by employees and failed to report the incidents to law enforcement, the arrest warrant states.

Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning spokesman Reg Griffin previously told the AJC that the parent of an enrolled child reported to police “allegations of inappropriate discipline with toddlers.”

According to an incident report, a mother left her child at the day care June 22 and noticed her son had injuries to the right side of his face by the time she picked him up. The mother told officers that she talked to an employee at the day care, who told her the injuries were mosquito bites. But the child had told his mother that he had been “popped in the head” by a teacher, according to the report.

Chambers told the responding officer that the child may have gotten a mosquito bite outside or suffered a carpet burn while crawling inside, the report states.

Police did not say how long the employees had been working at the day care.

The three women were all arrested June 18. Chambers was released a day later, Hull was released two days later and Swain was released three days later.

Explore2 women face charges tied to child abuse reported at Clarkston day care

Appletree Learning Center and Academy is not the only DeKalb day care under investigation. Two women face child cruelty charges tied to allegations of abuse at Clarkston First Baptist Academy, police said.

Authorities are asking for parents who feel their child was a victim of abuse at Appletree Learning Center and Academy to contact the DeKalb Special Victims Unit at 770-724-7710.