Several church daycare workers have been indicted on more than 40 charges involving the abuse of children ages two and younger.
According to court records, an Autauga County Grand Jury handed down indictments to three women who formerly worked at a daycare in Journey Church of the River Region in Prattville.
Chief Deputy District Attorney C.J. Robinson claimed the alleged crimes involved up to 11 children.
According to Robinson, an unidentified woman reported the abuse after noticing questionable behavior while observing daycare workers as a prospective employee. After the woman informed the director, the director alerted the police and produced video evidence.
Warrants were sworn for the three women on April 29, and all three were arrested on May 2.
Leah Livingston is charged with eight counts of child abuse and five charges of failing to report child abuse.
According to court records, Livingston was seen on video pushing a male child down in his crib, causing the baby to hit his head; she then jerked his legs, records state.
Court documents show Livingston is still in jail and has filed a motion claiming financial hardship. She will be represented by a state-appointed attorney.
Susan Baker is charged with 13 counts of willful child abuse and six counts of failing to report child abuse.
According to the arrest warrant, video evidence showed Baker abusing a minor under the age of two. The warrant claims that Baker violently jerked a baby’s crib, causing him to hit his head. She is also charged with striking the baby and holding his head down, then returning to the crib to slam the child down, striking him again.
Baker and her lawyer, Brandon C. Stone, immediately filed a request for dismissal, claiming the Autauga County District Attorneys’ office has overtly publicized Baker’s case and those of her co-defendants. They further allege that the publicization of the case by the District Attorney’s office ensured that Baker could not receive fair and impartial consideration from the grand jury.
Baker also requested the trial venue be changed to another county should the court not grant the dismissal, claiming that the jury pool would be biased due to the publicized nature of the cases.
Alice Burgamy Sorrells is also charged with seven counts of child abuse and five counts of failure to report abuse.
The report claimed that video evidence showed Sorrells jerked a child down in his crib, causing him to hit his head on some plexiglass, and forcefully jerked his leg. Records further state that the child could be heard audibly crying in pain without being checked for injury or consoled.
According to the arrest warrant, Sorrells can be audibly heard complaining that the child is being a pain in her behind.
The abuse referenced in the original arrests is alleged to have occurred more than a month-and-a-half before warrants were sworn.
Authorities claimed the church and daycare officials have cooperated with law enforcement since the beginning of the investigation.
The three women are considered innocent until proven guilty.
Neither the church nor the daycare has made a public comment.
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