Oklahoma day care shuts down after teacher is accused of 25 counts of physical and sexual abuse of children

News & Politics

A day care was asked to shut down by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services after a teacher was accused of physical and sexual abuse of children.

The Boomer Kids Club in the city of Woodward agreed to the request on Friday according to KFOR-TV.

Woodward Police Department Capt. Darren Navratil said that 19-year-old Tyler Kniest was accused of abusing children while working at the day care.

According to a DHS report, Kniest was accused of “hitting, kicking, thumping, popping, shoving, yanking and slamming children.”

“We did come up with about a total of, including the original eight incidences of child sexual abuse, and about sixteen instances of physical abuse,” said Navratil. “Some of them were repeated on the same children.”

Much of the evidence came from video surveillance at the day care, according to police.

“We executed a search warrant for the daycare surveillance system. It only went back a month, so we had a month’s worth of video from inside of his classroom that we reviewed,” Navratil added.

Kniest was arrested in December and charged with 25 criminal counts, including the sexual assault of a 4-year-old girl that was caught on video.

The DHS report said that children as young as 2 years old were punished with physical abuse for no apparent reason. Some children had their faces wrapped tightly to restrict movement during nap time, according to the report.

“Due to the substantiated findings determined through this child care investigation, the agency asked Boomer Kids to voluntarily close their child care program,” said Oklahoma DHS media relations manager Casey White.

The sudden shut down of the day care center left the area with a crisis, according to investigative journalist Rachel Van Horn.

“We absolutely have a huge need. There were about 60 children, as far as I could tell, that were displaced,” said Van Horn to KFOR. “It left a lot of people with no place to take their children. Some people are actually staying home, some people are considering opening a daycare themselves, some people quit their jobs.”

Kniest was fired from his job in December. If convicted, he could face between three and 20 years in prison for each felony. He was given a bail of $250,000.

Woodward is a town of about 12,000 residents in the northwest part of the state.

Here’s more about the allegations:

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