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May 1, 2017 2:49 PM

Police investigating NH child care center after mom says teacher gave son multiple bruises


SOMERSWORTH — Police are investigating an alleged case of child abuse at the Somersworth Early Learning Center where one parent claims a teacher gave her son multiple bruises.

Briana Owens said her 5-year-old son came home last Thursday with bruises on his back, armpits and buttock along with claw marks down his arms. This allegedly happened after her son — who Owens said has PTSD and delayed speech — told her one of the teachers had hurt him.

Owens' child has a forensic evaluation scheduled for Thursday morning at Strafford Superior Court to discuss what happened at the learning center.

Another child within the class told her mother, Josie, who only wanted her first name used, that the teacher "only hurt" the boy last Thursday following an incident where both children went to the bathroom together, according to a letter written by Josie to Owens' lawyer.

"I asked her to show me what (the teacher) did (to Owens' son), '(she) grabbed me by my arm very hard and pulled me to the side, and made a very discomforting face showing her teeth grinding together. She then pinched me in the middle of my back and pulled me,'" the letter reads.

Josie said she tried to tell Director Dawn Collins about this incident, but that Collins "rejected" this claim, saying she would not talk to Josie about another parent's child.

"I find this extremely wrong, and I was trying to advise the director of Somersworth Early Learning Center, that my child expressed to me that a teacher physically hurt another child," Josie wrote.

Josie and Owens have pulled their children out of the learning center.

Owens, along with her lawyer Jared Bedrick, went to the learning center Monday to talk about the situation, but employees at the school said they would not talk further without a lawyer.

"The school is refusing to answer any questions that we have or comment on the situation and the accused teacher is still watching other people's children today," Owens said.

Bedrick said it is too early for him to comment on this case.

The learning center told NH1 News it had no comment on the incident.

The Somersworth Police Department said no other information is being released at this time.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services Child Care Licensing Unit, the Somersworth Early Learning Center did not violate any critical rules during their last visit on Dec. 20, 2016.

The Child Care Licensing Unit had not yet returned a message left by a reporter.

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