COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – A Colorado day care owner, who was charged with hiding 26 children behind a false wall in a basement at her center, was found guilty Thursday of child abuse.
Carla Marie Faith was convicted of 26 counts of misdemeanor child abuse, a felony count of attempting to influence a public servant and a misdemeanor count of running a child care facility without a license, The Gazette of Colorado Springs reported. One of her employees, Christina Swauger, was also convicted on 26 counts of child abuse, the newspaper reported.
The child abuse charges could mean three to 12 months in jail, KOAA reported. The conviction for trying to influence a public servant carries a jail term of two to six years, according to the television station.
The conviction stemmed from a November 2019 investigation, when police received reports that Mountain Play Place, run by Faith, was caring for more children than it was allowed, KCNC reported.
According to an affidavit, Faith told police that no children were in the building, but an officer said he could hear children’s music and a child’s cry from the basement, according to KUSA.
Another officer discovered a small seam separating a false wall from the actual wall, according to the affidavit. Officers then found a stairwell leading to the basement, the Gazette reported. All of the children were under the age of 2, had wet or soiled diapers and were sweaty and thirsty, according to the affidavit.
“It’s all on behalf of every single one of these people here today,” District Attorney Michael Allen told reporters after the verdict was announced. “They deserve justice, and I think that this gives them a sense of justice.
“Having the kids locked in the basement at a place that they were taking their kids to for care. Someplace they trusted and felt like they were getting the care that they were expecting to achieve,” Allen said. “These kids were put into danger.”
Faith and Swauger’s sentencing date is scheduled for Oct. 21, KOAA reported.