Lawyer for accused South Windsor daycare child abuser calls investigation ‘flawed’

SOUTH WINDSOR -- A local former day care teacher accused of abuse appeared in court Thursday.

“I’m asking for a little longer than the usual continuance. Could I have until September 21st your honor?” asked Ashley Swietek’s attorney, Jon Berman.

The defense for 25-year-old Ashley Swietek of South Windsor will have until September 21st to form their case. Swietek is a former teacher at the Mother Goose daycare.

She is charged with three counts of risk of injury to a minor. Those charges come after three separate investigations by South Windsor Police Department, the Department of Children and Families and the Office of Early Childhood Learning.

Swietek left Manchester Superior Court without making a comment, but her lawyer called those investigations “flawed.”

“When it was first brought to the South Windsor Police Department, they didn’t pursue the charges. They didn’t find probable cause initially with respect to some of these allegations,” said Berman.

FOX61  fact checked that with the South Windsor Police Department who said their investigation followed standard operating procedure that resulted in the investigator applying for an arrest warrant.

“Reviewed by a prosecutor and a judge to verify that the probable cause does exist and then the suspects are pursued and arrested,” said Lt. Kristian Lindstrom of the South Windsor Police Department.

A small group consisting of parents and grandparents of children who’ve attended Mother Goose gathered outside of Manchester Superior Court. They didn’t want to go on camera, but among other things they alleged that Mother Goose violated the mandated reporter law and didn’t communicate important information.

Three other people were arrested and charged with violating that mandated reporter law.

“There’s only a duty to report when there is evidence of abuse or neglect, and that has not been established yet,” said Atty. Steven Seligman of Katz & Seligman who represents Mother Goose.

Lawyers told FOX61 they believe the abuse allegations were reported by a disgruntled employee — not a parent or child. Attorney Berman vouched for Ashley Swietek’s character.

“Never so much as received a parking ticket in her history. No traffic tickets, no previous arrests. She loves kids. She’s worked with kids all her life,” said Berman.

All this as Mother Goose continues to search for a new operator to take over the business by the state imposed deadline of September 28th. Until then, the current ownership remains in place under the close supervision of the state.

Mother Goose cares for about 130 kids and has been in business for more than 45 years.