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Former day care worker indicted for criminal abuse

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Police: Watts kicked 6-year-old in the stomach

By Sarah Bennett

A former Elizabethtown day care employee was indicted in December by the Hardin County grand jury on a charge of criminal abuse involving a 6-year-old who was in her care.

LaTasia N. Watts, 23, faces one count of first-degree criminal abuse, a Class C felony.

According to an arrest warrant, Watts grabbed the child’s arm Sept. 6 and attempted to pull him out of a room at Jungle Zone Preschool and Child Care where she worked at the time.

Court financial records filled out by Watts in October indicate she no longer is employed at the Elizabethtown day care.

When Watts pulled on the boy’s arm, witnesses told police, he fell to the ground where Watts “kicked the (boy) several times in the stomach,” according to a warrant.

During an interview with Social Services in September, the boy said Watts “kicked him because he was bad,” according to police. He also said during the interview he had a scratch on his stomach.

Elizabethtown Police Sgt. Tim Cleary said the day care reported the incident to police. The director of Jungle Zone Daycare could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Watts was arrested Oct. 2 on a charge of second-degree criminal abuse. Hardin County Detention Center records show she was released Nov. 30 on a partially secured $5,000 bond.

Conditions of release stipulate she is not to have contact with the boy or anyone younger than 18 without direct parental supervision.

According to court documents, the grand jury determined the act was intentional and raised the charge from second to first-degree criminal abuse.

Prior to this incident, Watts did not have a criminal history in Hardin County, according to court records.

An indictment is an allegation, not proof of guilt. The defendant is innocent until proven guilty.

Because of the elevated charge, Watts’ bond has been raised to $10,000 cash and a warrant was issued on indictment.

She is scheduled to appear for arraignment Jan. 15 in Hardin Circuit Court.

First-degree criminal abuse is a Class C felony, which is punishable by five to 10 years in prison if found guilty, according to Kentucky Revised Statutes.

Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.