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Two daycare workers accused of child abuse plead no contest; lawsuit filed against daycare

Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 10:11 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Two women accused of abusing two children in their care pleaded no contest Tuesday.

Wilmington police arrested Pamela Carr and Geraldine Sidbury in June, charging them with two counts of misdemeanor child abuse and two counts of assault on a child under 12.

On Tuesday, Carr and Sidbury pleaded no contest to two counts of assault on a child under 12. They both were given a 120-day suspended sentence, 18 months of supervised probation, and ordered to not have contact with minors outside their families.

The alleged abuse happened at Carr’s Academy on Peachtree Avenue. The daycare that had over 100 children in its care, according to court documents. The facility was owned by Pamela Carr with Sidbury being an employee.

While the criminal charges proceed through the judicial system, a civil lawsuit has also been filed by attorneys representing one of the young victims against the daycare and the two women charged with abuse. The lawsuit states the seven-year-old victim had been enrolled at Carr’s Academy since she was an infant, and the daycare never informed her mother of any disciplinary issues with her child.

“On or about My 26, 2021, the van from Carr’s Peachtree location picked up Minor Child, her older brother and other children from [school] as usual. Upon information and belief, on the way from [school] to Carr’s Peachtree location, Minor Child and her best friend, another first grade girl, adjusted their seatbelts and the van driver and/or another employee of the Carr’s Peachtree location reprimanded them for allegedly standing or trying to stand up in the van while en route,” the lawsuit states about the event that prompted the alleged abuse.

After arriving at the daycare, the girls were told not to go outside for free play, but to sit quietly outside Pamela Carr’s office.

“Minor Child and the other first grade girl sat outside Defendant Pamela Carr’s office in fear; they knew from experience that they were waiting to be punished” then taken into the office.

“In her hand, Defendent Carr held a leather belt given to her by her brother-in-law, who worked in various capacities at the facility and drove the school transport van from time to time. ‘Mr. Bryan,’ as he was known, had taken off the belt for Defendant Carr to use to discipline the children,” the lawsuit continues.

After yelling at the children, plaintiffs allege Carr ordered them to hold out their hands.

“Defendant Carr hit each of the girls with the belt across the hands. The girls began to cry and wail. However, Defendants Pamela Carr and Geraldine Sidbury were not dissuaded from the discipline. Upon information and belief, Defendant Geraldine Sidbury then took hold of the belt and repeatedly whipped Minor Child and the other first grade girl with it,” the lawsuit reads.

The lawsuit states Sidbury “repeatedly raised the belt above her head before bringing it down on the girls” and the Minor Child “sustained blows to her midsection, arm, shoulder and legs” before being told to dry their eyes and go out to play with the other children.

The girls were apparently too scared to tell their families, but did mention it to staff at their elementary school, who reported the matter to authorities so an investigation could be launched.

Corporal punishment is banned in North Carolina daycare facilities. The lawsuit indicates the incident with the belt was not the first time children had been abused at Carr’s Academy.

“Upon information and belief, Minor Child had previously been punished by having her hair pulled, her face slapped, and her head pushed and pulled by Defendant Pamela Carr or Defendant Geraldine Sidbury... Additionally, upon information and belief, Minor Child had been punished by being swatted with a wooden spoon, a brush, a paddle and a ruler by one or both Defendants Pamela Carr and Geraldine Sidbury,” the lawsuit says.

The plaintiffs are seeking monetary damages in excess of $25,000. Grayson Cheek is Carr’s attorney. He is reserving comment on the allegations brought forward in the civil suit until after the criminal trial is over.

According to the latest documents on file with the NC Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees daycare facilities, Pamela Carr is no longer allowed on the premises of Carr’s Academy during operating hours. The lawsuit states that Sidbury resigned from her position with the daycare as soon as police arrived to arrest her in June.

Two other women are now sharing director responsibilities for the facility. The state reports that Carr’s Academy, LLC has been dissolved.

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