A former Merryhill School worker in Parker was sentenced to 18 months of probation for misdemeanor child abuse May 13. Brenda Woodard, 47, pleaded guilty to negligent child abuse April 30 for using a …
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A former Merryhill School worker in Parker was sentenced to 18 months of probation for misdemeanor child abuse May 13.
Brenda Woodard, 47, pleaded guilty to negligent child abuse April 30 for using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to remove permanent marker from two children's faces. Both children were 3 years old.
The parents of one of the children, Caitlin and Josh Sims, spoke during the sentencing. Caitlin Sims said Woodard “attacked” her child and “ruthlessly” scrubbed his face. The children suffered chemical burns and trauma, the Sims said. The incident was recorded by a surveillance camera.
“You lost control and behaved in a punitive and oppressive manor,” Caitlin Sims said. “I watched in horror, in pain and shock with what happened to them by a person they trusted.”
Woodard was cited in a December letter from the Colorado Office of Early Childhood in the department's review of the school that includes a list of violations committed by the school during a 10-month probationary period from Jan. 4, 2018 to Oct. 29. The two children suffered chemical burns after Woodard attempted to clean marker off each of their faces using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponge, which contains formaldehyde. The product's website, MrClean.com, labels it as an all-purpose household cleaner.
On Dec. 17, the Colorado Department of Human Services sent a letter to Merryhill President Debra Pritchard informing her the school's license renewal request had been denied following several violations during the school's 10-month probation period in 2018. The letter listed the Magic Eraser incident as a founded concern of Stage 1 child abuse.
Woodard was sentenced by Judge Susanna Meissner-Cutler, a Douglas County Court judge. In addition to the probation, Woodard must pay a $200 fine, which can be reduced to $100 if Woodard completes her required sentence, and was issued a mandatory protection order restricting Woodard from ever being a care worker for children again.
“I can't imagine what a 3-year-old would do to cause such a reaction to you that you would place these children in harm's way and do so in a truly abusive manor,” Meissner-Cutler said. “The result is going to be you're never going to work with these children again.”
The parents of the affected victims, the Simses and Joel and Stacey Dant, are pursuing a civil lawsuit against Woodard, which is ongoing. The civil suit was filed in July 2018.
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