GOOSE CREEK — A judge tossed out an assault charge against a local day care owner after ruling that the boy she was accused of beating with a belt was not competent to testify in the case.
Colette Crawford, 38, owner of Just for Kids, had faced a charge of third-degree assault and battery.
Goose Creek Municipal Court Judge Dale E. Van Slambrook ruled last week that the sole witness, a 6-year-old boy, was not capable of giving competent testimony, Crawford’s attorney, Paul Thurmond said. Without corroborating testimony or evidence, the judge ruled that the case had to be dismissed, Thurmond said.
Court officials confirmed that disposition.
In February, a mother contacted Goose Creek police after her 6-year-old son said Crawford beat him on his bottom with a belt at the 107 St. James Ave. facility, according to a police report.
The boy’s mother questioned Crawford about the incident, but Crawford denied the accusations, the report stated.
After the ruling, Crawford issued a written statement expressing gratitude for the ruling and faith in the judicial system. She said she had not faced a similar allegation in her 14 years in the child care business.
“More than anything, I am extremely grateful the 20-plus families, who have their children in our daycare, continued to stand by me and keep their children enrolled,” she said. “They knew this accusation was false, and their actions show their trust in me. Finally, I want to make it clear that I hold no ill will towards the minor child, as his wave and smile at me in court was comforting to my heart that he has no fear of me, like his mother had claimed.”
Thurmond said the Dorchester Children’s Center, where the boy was interviewed, failed to acknowledge in its report that the child didn’t respond appropriately to some questions and that he indicated he was never touched or hit by an adult or a woman.
“The Dorchester Children’s Center, in its effort to trump up a case, did a disservice to those children out there that are actually the victims of abuse by not providing an accurate summary of the interview,” he said. “Fortunately, the interview was videotaped and the truth came to light.”
Kay W. Phillips, executive director, was not available Monday afternoon and no one else could respond to questions from The Post and Courier, a receptionist said. Phillips did not respond to a message left on her voice mail or an email sent to her account.
Reach Glenn Smith at 937-5556 or Twitter.com/glennsmith5.