An Ohio day care owner will spend just 30 days in jail after being accused of sexually abusing children.
What are the details?
Kimberly Hignite of Grove City was accused of abusing at least five children in her care, according to WBNS-TV. Hignite ran the unlicensed day care out of her Ohio home and had as many as 24 children in her care at any given time. Hignite’s 71-year-old mother was reportedly watching the children when authorities arrested the day care owner in May.
Police said several children, between 7 months and 5 years old, were left unaccompanied in empty rooms, strapped into child car seats.
Prosecutors say that at least three children suffered sexual abuse by Hignite, who reportedly forced them to play the “silly private game,” which apparently involved sexual touching.
One mother told the court, “Miss Kim forced them to play using a tan and blue game board with pictures of private parts and a red spinner. Your Honor, the sound of my autistic son and little girl being able to describe what that grown woman’s vagina looks like and feels like is something we regrettably will never be able to forget, and honestly something I can never forgive.”
Another mother added, “One of my girls developed an anxiety-driven hair-pulling habit to the point that she was nearly bald. My heart breaks anytime I think about how my children were left alone, strapped into their car seats, crying.”
Yet another parent said that her child needed medical care after spending time at Hignite’s home.
“My infant was left in her winter snowsuit, all day long strapped in her car seat, coming home sweating, dehydrated and hungry with awful diaper rashes to the point she was bleeding,” the mom revealed. “I had to take her to the doctor.”
Hignite struck a plea deal, which required her to foot the bill for her jailing, in addition to a $4,200 fine. Prosecutors said that most of the charges were dismissed because some of the victims’ families were reportedly not being cooperative in the investigation.
In a plea deal Monday, prosecutors said they would be willing to drop gross sexual imposition charges against Hignite. In exchange, she would have to plead guilty to 14 counts of child endangerment.
“I want the court to know that we accepted this plea deal because I could not allow Ms. Hignite to take away one more moment from my children’s lives,” one mother said. “Not one more.”
Hignite was given a chance to speak but declined.