WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — After two women were indicted for allegedly abusing children at a Robins Air Force Base childcare facility, a woman says her child had a similar experience.
"We trust these people to be with our children, you know," Jennifer Clinton said.
Clinton says her trust for a Robins Air Force Base childcare quickly shattered.
"One day, something just told me to look at the cameras, so I looked at the cameras, and I went to walk out, and I stopped, and I was like no, go back," she recalled.
She says what she saw back in 2019 shocked her, a clear video on monitors near the facility that seemed to show Clinton's 2-year-old and her classmates being encouraged to fight.
"One hit her in the back of the head, and the other hit her in her back, and I said, 'that's odd.'So I watched to see if the teacher was going to do anything," Clinton said. "At that time, the other little girl pulled up her hand to hit (Clinton's daughter) again, and I ran down the hall and grabbed her out of there."
Clinton's story matches some of the complaints in the indictment against Zhanay Flynn and Antanesha Fritz. They're the Robins Air Force Base childcare workers accused of abusing at least 14 kids. That indictment alleges the two women encouraged fighting, hit children with books, and sprayed cleaning liquid in their faces.
"So I called security forces myself minutes after the incident. I had to call my husband up there, the whole nine. Security forces get up there, and they're trying to do their investigation. Well, then it goes up to the chief. I never heard anything else," she said.
According to the Department of Defense, childcare staff must complete a minimum of 24 hours per year of training against child abuse. Staff also do not use corporal punishment or negative discipline that hurts, humiliates, or frightens children.
"It's not just a state-wide issue, it's a nationwide issue with all these bases, these army posts and everything, and it's not going to get better unless leadership does something about it," she said.
The state of Georgia does not regulate childcare on military installations. However, according to the Department of Defense, on-base childcare is randomly inspected at least four times a year.
Zhanay Flynn appeared before a federal magistrate in Macon on Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to all charges. Her bond was set at $15,000. Flynn's conditions of release include no employment that involves childcare or responsibility for children and can have no contact with the victims or their family members.
According to the court record, Fritz has not yet appeared in court. Latona Lambert, the supervisor at Robin's, is accused of not reporting the abuse.
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