DCF finds no evidence of abuse at Nicaea Academy
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
CAPE CORAL - A two month investigation by the Department of Children and Families found no evidence of physical or sexual abuse at the Nicaea Academy but the Christian daycare was cited for a lack of supervision and creating a "serious safety hazard" for kids.
In November, Theresa Hill filed a DCF complaint after her 3-year-old daughter Anna claimed she was touched inappropriately at the Nicaea Academy.
"It started with my daughter telling me she was being touched in her no-no spot," said Hill.
Another mother told Fox 4 and DCF her daughter had to wear a cast after a teacher yanked her arm trying to break up a fight. And another mom snapped a photo of a mysterious bruise on her daughter's face.
At the time, Nicaea denied the allegations and lashed out saying the parents were "on a mission to destroy...the Academy." In November, when DCF was still investigating, they sent a letter to parents saying DCF found nothing wrong.
That turned out to be partially true.
According to the state's 11-page final report, DCF found no evidence of physical or sexual abuse.
"We didn't find any of the allegations substantiated," said DCF spokeswoman Terri Durdaller.
But DCF did slap the school with two written warnings stemming from an incident on Nov. 1.
According to the DCF report, the academy's director was accused of telling a teacher to prop open a window because "the electric bill was too high." The report says the teacher did prop open the classroom's broken window with a broomstick handle and a block.
According to the complaint, the "teacher told the director that it was unsafe and the director told her to prop it" anyway.
That day, a child broke her finger when she removed the block and the window came crashing down.
As a result, DCF gave the daycare a written warning for "inadequate supervision" and for creating a "serious safety hazard" and ordered the Nicaea Academy to fix the window.
Amy Williams withdrew her 4-year-old son from the school last fall because she too noticed a lack of supervision.
"There was pretty much never anyone in his classroom when I dropped him off every day," said Williams.
"Knowing what you know now, are you still glad you took him out?," asked Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant.
"Yes," said Williams. "I won't bring him back."
Still, she's happy the investigation is finally over.
"I'm glad to hear about it," she said. "I'm glad to find out the truth."
A spokesman for Cape Coral Police said he would know Tuesday if their investigation is still ongoing. A lawyer representing Nicaea only told Fox 4 the window incident was an "unfortunate accident."
"If you read the report you will notice that all the DCF Cited Nicea [sic] Academy for was for an incident related to an unfortunate accident where a broken window closed on a students hand. There were no findins that any teachers or faculty members committed any physsical or sexual abuse towards any of the students."