Daycare Forced to Close Following Abuse Allegations - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/19/06

Daycare Forced to Close Following Abuse Allegations

Source: Lubbock Co. Sheriff Source: Lubbock Co. Sheriff

A Lubbock daycare was ordered by the state to shut down immediately following multiple charges of indecency with a child.

You'll remember, 51-year-old Royce Jiminez was charged with seven counts of indecency with a child. He bonded out shortly after his arrest.

5/1/06
Lubbock Pastor Arrested for Indecency with a Child
A Pastor accused of touching a 7-year-old boy is now charged with Indecency of a Child. The Pastor is 51-year-old Royce Jiminez of Light of the World Christian Church.

Jiminez is pastor of the Light of the World Christian Church as well as an owner and board member of the church's daycare, Sunlight Daycare. He is accused of touching a seven-year-old boy inappropriately on seven different occasions.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services completed its investigation Thursday concerning the report containing the charges against Jiminez. There are seven different counts against him, including: engaging in sexual contact by touching the genitals of the child.

Shortly after the state's decision, literally minutes later, they delivered a letter to the daycare informing them that their operating license had been revoked and they had no choice but to shut down.

"If we don't feel like we can make a daycare safe, where we can assure the parents that the daycare is meeting the minimum standards, then we really have no choice but to shut down that daycare," area director for Family and Protective Services Greg Cunningham said.

Right across the street from a neighborhood park, Sunlight Daycare is owned by the church's pastor, and Cunningham says that was problematic.

"If it were an isolated incident in another daycare we could possibly ask the daycare to terminate an employee or something like that, then we could say that the daycare had been made safe and continue operating. Obviously this situation when you're talking a bout an owner and operator and that's just not an option," Cunningham said.

Once the decision was made, the daycare was forced to shut down automatically and call parents to pick up their children.

"The law requires that the daycare shut down immediately if it's a safety issue. Obviously we recognize that creates a difficulty for parents to find another daycare on short notice, but if we decide a daycare is not safe we really can't in good conscious allow it to continue to operate," Cunningham said.

Cunningham says child safety is something you can't compromise or cut corners on.

"This is a very serious decision to shut down a daycare. It's something that we don't take lightly, but our mandate is to make sure that the daycare is safe for parents to leave their children, and in this particular case we feel that this was the only way that we could ensure that those children were going to be safe," Cunningham said.

We contacted both the daycare and church. They told us they had no comment.

Cunningham suggests that parents investigate daycares before deciding which one to send their children to. You can check out facilities licensed by the state on the Texas Department of Family and Protective services web site, byclicking here.

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