A Colorado jury found a daycare manager guilty of child abuse after she was accused of hiding 26 children behind a false wall in a basement.
A woman hid 26 children behind a false wall in the basement of her day care center.
Carla Marie Faith, 58, was charged Thursday with 26 counts of child abuse, plus felony counts of attempting to influence a public servant and running a child care facility without a license, the Colorado Springs Gazette reports.
The court decision comes more than a year and a half after police received reports of irregularities at the Play Mountain Place child care center Faith operated, including that it housed more children than allowed.
During an on-site visit by authorities in November 2019, the woman repeatedly claimed there were no minors at the facility.
However, one of the agents heard crying and upon inspection detected a staircase leading to a basement and in it a space behind a false wall that housed the 26 minors, all under the age of two.
Many of them were wearing dirty or wet diapers, and were sweaty and thirsty, according to a sworn affidavit.
The child abuse charges against her could each carry sentences of three to 12 months in prison, while the felony for attempting to influence a public servant would cost her two to six years.
Faith, however, has no prior criminal record and, her lawyer said earlier this year, “at 58 years old, for a first offense, with no injuries, a prison sentence is unlikely.”
Christina Swauger, another daycare employee, was also found guilty Thursday of the same number of child abuse charges as Faith.
Both women are scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 21.