COLORADO SPRINGS — Three women connected to Play Mountain Place, a Colorado Springs daycare abruptly shut down by the state in November, appeared in an El Paso County courtroom Thursday.
Carla Faith, who ran two licensed daycare facilities as well as two unlicensed locations, is facing a felony charge of attempting to influence a public servant and misdemeanor child abuse charges. She waived her rights to reading and advisement Thursday morning.
The Colorado Department of Human Services worked in cooperation with the Colorado Springs Police Department on November 13 to raid Play Mountain Place. The raid was initiated when a parent called DHS with concerns of an inappropriate ratio of kids to teachers after dropping off their child for the day.
According to court documents, when a DHS inspector arrived at the daycare facility, Faith reported she had no children in her care that day.
Records show, due to the conflict between the parent’s report and Faith’s response to the DHS inspector, CSPD was contacted.
In the meantime, the parent who’d made the initial report was able to get in touch with Faith and pick up their child.
Daycare employees insisted they were not providing care for any other children and allowed CSPD officers to search the facility.
Officers confirmed finding no children on the premises before asking to search a home on the property, separate from the licensed daycare facility, and were given permission to do so.
Once inside the home, officers reported hearing music and children crying. One officer discovered a closet full of backpacks, which Faith asserted she had “volunteered to clean for a soccer team”, again assuring officers there were no children in her care at the time.
Officers reported hearing more noises from children and asked Faith to show them to the basement.
Faith reportedly told officers that her home “doesn’t have a basement and the children were at a park”.
Sometime later, a CSPD officer “bumped into a wall” and “felt [it] move”. That “false wall” revealed access to a basement, where officers discovered 26 children, all under three years old, and two adults.
The arrest affidavit described the children as sweaty and thirsty. It said many of the children had soiled or wet diapers.
As a result, Play Mountain Place and Counterpoint School were shut down and an investigation ensued.
Thursday marked Faith’s first court appearance, along with Christina Swauger and Katelynn Nelson, both worked for Faith at Play Mountain Place.
Swauger, following Faith’s lead, also waived her reading and advisement.
Swauger, like Faith, is facing a felony charge of attempting to influence a public servant as well as misdemeanor charges of child abuse.
Swauger was also found to have marijuana in her possession at the time of the raid and is facing a separate misdemeanor charge for that.
Nelson did hear the charges against her in court on Thursday. She’s facing a felony charge of unlawful possession of a schedule II controlled substance, and misdemeanor child abuse.
A fourth employee was served and released on misdemeanor charges and has not yet appeared in court.
Faith, Swauger, and Nelson are set to return to court on January 8 for their first appearances.