There are few crimes that wound a person’s heart more than a crime against a child. We grudgingly acknowledge that violence between adults happens, even if we take pains to prevent it, and strive to act justly in punishing it. However, when the most vulnerable among us are the victims, it affects us very deeply. It would seem that no amount of money could make one whole after learning of the abuse of a child, but clearly, based upon the facts detailed below, the daycare center will be subject to a variety of civil lawsuits in the near term.
The Sunnyside Daycare Center in Jersey City’s Port Liberte’ is in trouble again after a fourth employee has been accused of child abuse since April of this year. The Hudson County Prosecutor’s office arrested Sutapa Aditya, 41, of Jersey City, at her home the morning of June 18. Authorities have charged her with endangering the welfare of a child and child abuse, alleging she repeatedly assaulted a two-year old boy. The specifics of the charges are made worse given the fact that Aditya’s arrest is the fourth arrest at the same facility since April of this year, a mere two month time span.
Sunnyside came to the attention of the police back on April 29 after a Jersey City couple first picked up their 19-month old son, finding his face bruised, and swollen. The boy’s father went to the daycare center administrator the next day where they reportedly watched a security camera video. It apparently showed a Sunnyside employee, Ann Bactawar, allegedly knocking the boy off a box he was standing on and causing him to fall to the floor. It has also been reported that the video shows Bactawar, 26, physically abusing a 16-month old boy. She was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child and two counts of child abuse. Authorities subsequently obtained large amounts of digitally-recorded video, which then led to an arrest of a second employee, Young Cha of Belleville. Cha was charged on May 9 with endangering the welfare of a child and child abuse after police continued to view the recordings in the wake of Bactawar’s arrest. A third employee, Annette A. Rocker, 69, of Palisades Park was accused of hitting and slapping a 2 year old.
Police continue to view video and it was this review of the video that led to the subsequent arrests. We hope, in addition, authorities will consider going directly to other parents, encouraging them to report any suspicions they have or even speaking with other Sunnyside employees. To date, Sunnyside has not commented on the arrests and a woman who answered the phone reportedly said she was unaware of the incidents and hung up. Undoubtedly, police will continue to pour through the recordings and hopefully request Sunnyside employees speak up if they know of other helpless victims.