Carla Faith, 58, was found guilty by a jury on 26 counts of misdemeanor child abuse
A former daycare worker and her employee were found guilty of child abuse after hiding 26 children behind a ‘false wall’ in her basement.
Carla Faith, 58, and one of her employees, Christina Swauger, were found guilty by a jury on 26 counts of misdemeanor child abuse.
In November 2019, Authorities found 26 children under the age of three children behind a false wall in the basement of Faith’s Play Mountain Place day care in Colorado Springs after parents complained of overcrowding at her home.
She had been operating the daycare with a license for just six kids and, it is believed, when police arrived she hid the kids from view. Officers persevered because they could hear the children inside.
The child abuse charges could mean three to twelve months in jail for Faith (pictured)
Swauger, (pictured) an employee at the daycare, was also convicted by the jury of 26 counts child abuse, one for each child found in the basement
When the police entered the home they found a ‘false wall’ which led to the basement.
Once they got to the basement, they found the 26 children and two adults.
According to the affidavit, many of the children had soiled or wet diapers and were sweaty and thirsty, gazette.com reported.
‘Officers immediately began working with [The Colorado Department of Human Services] to release the children back to their parents,’ he said.
Authorities shut down that property and another three that she was operating.
District Attorney Michael Allen celebrated the guilty verdict as he stood with the families of some of the victims in front of the El Paso County Combined Courthouse.
The Play Mountain Place daycare (right) where the children were found in November 2019
‘It’s all on behalf of every single one of these people here today,’ he said. ‘They deserve justice, and I think that this gives them a sense of justice.’
The family members attended most of the court trial that included police body camera footage of the daycare and ‘some pretty heavy testimony,’ Deputy DA Andrew Herlihy said.
Following the verdict a parent said the trial was emotional and the families would need time to heal, gazette.com reported.
‘It’s going to take help, for our kids especially, to move on after the trauma that they’ve gone through,’ Vanessa Nagel said.
During closing arguments, defense attorney Josh Tolini tried to convince the jury the situation was not as bad as it seemed and the children were not continually kept in cramped spaces.
‘They were spread out, fed, got naps, and did arts and crafts,’ he said. ‘They were loved.’
At one point Tolini argued there was evidence the kids were well taken care of because they were happy, prompting a parent walked out of the courtroom, KOAA.com reported.
A jury found Faith guilty of 26 counts of knowing and reckless child abuse without injury, as well as charges for running a child care facility without a license and attempting to influence a public servant.
Swauger, an employee at the daycare, was also convicted by the jury of 26 counts child abuse, one for each child found in the basement.
A no-bond warrant has been issued for another employee of the daycare who did not appear in court, the DA’s office said.
When she is arrested, she too will go to trial, gazette.com reported.
The child abuse charges could mean three to twelve months in jail.
Faith and Swauger are scheduled for sentencing in October.