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Unlicensed home daycare provider facing child abuse charge

Three cease and desist orders were served to the provider last summer, months before a young girl was injured, court records show.

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. — A home daycare provider who admitted to ignoring several cease and desist orders from the state now faces a child abuse charge related to a January incident involving a young child in her care, an arrest affidavit from the Castle Rock Police Department (CRPD) says.

Kaylen Grimm is charged with negligent child abuse, court records show.

Police began an investigation on Jan. 5, 2022, after Jennifer Prusak picked up her daughter and was concerned about visible injuries which included a bruise on her neck and scratches around her eyes, the affidavit says.

"I immediately saw bruising all over my daughter's face," Prusak said in an interview with 9NEWS. "I saw these red dots under her eyes."

She went on to say that it was "obvious" to her and her husband that there was a handprint on her daughter's face.

Prusak said their family had used Grimm for care in 2019 but moved away for about 10 months. She said when they returned to Colorado in December, they put their children back in Grimm's care.

She said she felt things had "changed" but said she gave Grimm the benefit of the doubt because she had had no prior issues.

"I thought I could trust her," she said.

Prusak explained that on Jan. 5, she needed to pick up her son in the middle of the day for a doctor's appointment.

"The whole day was really strange," she said.

Prusak said she texted Grimm multiple times that morning to let her know she would be coming by to get her son for the appointment but got no response. When she arrived she said she was knocking for about 15 minutes before Grimm's husband eventually came to the door. 

RELATED: Unlicensed daycare provider convicted on 26 counts after kids found hidden in basement

She said she left with her son and returned about 45 minutes later for her daughter. When she arrived, another mother was at the door and reported she had been there for some time but no one had answered the door, the affidavit says. Eventually, Grimm's husband returned home with their school-age children and entered the home, the affidavit says and Grimm then came downstairs carrying Prusak's daughter.

Prusak reported that Grimm's hair was "frazzled" and her makeup was messed up, according to the affidavit. She reported that it appeared as if Grimm had been sleeping, the document says.

A responding officer reported the following injuries on Prusak's daughter in the affidavit:

  • A mild abrasion under the right eye and to the side by her right temple
  • A small bruise on left neck that appeared older
  • A small abrasion "consistent" with a fingernail nick on her left cheek

A detective who reviewed photos of the injuries wrote that the bruise on her neck was "concerning" because it appeared to "represent a thumb or fingerprint impression," according to the affidavit.

A mother of a boy who attended the daycare reported that her son told her that Grimm became upset with Prusak's daughter for pooping in her pants and hit her, the affidavit says.  

The detective spoke with the girl's family and suggested they go to Children's Hospital for evaluation of her injuries, according to the document. A nurse and a doctor there expressed "significant" concerns about the injuries because there were "numerous" and they were "not consistent with an accident or fall", the affidavit says.

They reported that the injuries could not have been caused by playing with another child and went on to say that falling down a few stairs or off an object wouldn't have caused them either, according to the affidavit.

The doctor acknowledged the injuries could have been caused by "some sort of strangulation" but could not say for sure, the affidavit says. However, she noted that the bruise on the girl's neck, red dots known as petechiae on her face, and a bruise on the side of her face were "consistent" with that type of assault, according to the affidavit.

Grimm later told investigators that Prusak's daughter went absolutely "bonkers" when her mother left with her brother and had "done a number on herself" by rubbing her eyes, the affidavit says. Grimm said she believed the girl had broken the blood vessels under her eyes with all the crying and rubbing, according to the document.

She also stated, according to the document, that the bruises looked worse than they actually were.

RELATED: Unlicensed Colorado day care had been warned to stop operating 6 years before death of infant

When investigators told Grimm that a doctor did not believe the injuries were caused by accident, she said she "disagreed," the affidavit says. When told that some of the children were describing an incident where someone got angry with the victim, she responded that "children have good imaginations," according to the affidavit.

Grimm denied putting her hands on Prusak's daughter, and stated she "may be guilty of not paying attention" but that would be the "only thing" she could be accused of, the affidavit says.

Grimm acknowledged she was in an upstairs bedroom with Prusak's daughter while the other six children were downstairs without supervision for an "unknown period" of time," the affidavit says.

Following the incident, the affidavit says the detective reported that Grimm texted numerous parents denying any involvement.

Other incidents

A mother of a boy reported to police that her son had previously come home with bruises, according to the affidavit, but they were "nothing like" the victims.

Another mom reported that her daughter would come home with "a lot of diaper rash" which caused her to question how often her daughter's diaper was getting changed while at Grimm's home, the affidavit says.

She recalled an incident in December 2021 when her daughter came home with a "severe chafe" on the inside of her thigh, according to the affidavit. She believed that her daughter may have been wearing the same diaper all day, the document says.

A mother who had two children in care at Grimm's house reported that her daughter had also come home with bruises in the past, the affidavit says. She recalled a specific incident in September when her daughter had a bruise on her face, according to the document.

The mother said she asked Grimm about it, who explained that she accidentally hit the girl when the girl ran into her, the affidavit says. The mother reported that she was concerned but didn't necessarily think the bruises were inconsistent with what Grimm said, according to the document.

The mom had taken photos of the injuries the day after the incident, the affidavit says, which were provided to investigators. According to the affidavit, the child had two horizontal bruises that went from the hairline to close to her left eye. The woman's husband mentioned that the bruise "appeared consistent" with a hand/fingers, the document says.

The mom said she was "hesitant" to believe Grimm was capable of causing any intentional injury to her daughter, according to the document, but said after reviewing the photos again and talking with the detective she "now has concerns."

Cease and desist orders

When speaking with the detective, the affidavit says Grimm asked if he was prohibiting her from operating as a daycare.

He responded that he was not, but reminded her that the state had given her "numerous" cease and desist orders and told her she needed to comply, the affidavit says. Grimm admitted she had not complied previously but she would do so moving forward, the document says.

According to the affidavit, an investigator with the state licensing division had been looking into Grimm for "months" due to reports that she was caring for too many children. The investigator reported she had contacted Grimm and her husband  "numerous" times and served them "cease and desist" letters on the following dates, the affidavit says:

  • July 22, 2021
  • Aug. 26, 2021
  • Aug. 27, 2021
  • Jan. 6, 2022

The investigator explained at the time that Grimm was not being shut down entirely by the state, but said she was "repeatedly" operating over the limit of children she was allowed in her home because she was unlicensed, the affidavit says.  According to the affidavit, she was allowed to care for four children, and at the time of the incident on Jan. 5 at least six children were in the home.

9NEWS has requested copies of each of the cease and desist letters from the state.

Grimm is due in court on May 5 for a pre-trial hearing.

Resources

Prusak said she was not aware of the cease and desist order when she put her children back in the care of Grimm in December. She said if she had known, she would have found care elsewhere.

She said he's hoping by sharing what happened she can help other parents be more informed. After the incident, she found that records of the cease and desist order can be found online through Colorado Shines.

On the Colorado Shines website, parents can also find checklists and rating for programs and schools.

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