Southlake, Euless childcare and worker accused of sexual abuse sued by the child’s parents

A family from Grapevine last week filed a lawsuit against a Southlake daycare center, Euless daycare center and a former daycare worker who is accused of sexual abuse because their child was a victim of the abuse.

The parents are suing Carpe Diem Private Preschool in Southlake and school officials, claiming they failed to provide a safe environment for the children, including the victim. The parents are also suing Thaddeaus Davidson, who was arrested on charges of indecent contact with a child and sexual contact, for allegedly sexually abusing their child while he worked at Southlake day care.

The lawsuit was filed in Dallas County.

A previous lawsuit had been filed against the nursery in November by a Roanoke family, accusing Carpe Diem of hiring Davidson, a suspected child molester, after being fired from an Euless nursery, Lionheart Children’s Academy, for the same reason. Davidson was not criminally charged in Euless.

Defendants in the latest lawsuit are Davidson; Try Carpe Diem; Lionheart Children’s Academy; and Marie Fetterman, Sarah Castaneda, Amelia Beall, and Stan Dobbs, all of whom have worked for Lionheart Children’s Academy. Fetterman later worked at Carpe Diem and hired Davidson to work there, according to the lawsuits.

“The safety and well-being of our children should always be of the utmost importance. Unfortunately, in this case, a teacher from Carpe Diem Private Preschool has been arrested for inappropriate sexual acts against a child. It has also been discovered that the teacher had previous incidents of misbehavior against children at another school before being hired at Carpe Diem. The victim’s family has filed a lawsuit against the offending teacher, the schools and the school administrators for their acts and omissions in relation to the incident,” Webster Law Firm marketing director Kelsey Russek said in an email Friday to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Webster Law Firm represents the Grapevine family.

The Dallas County lawsuit says that Fetterman claims she interviewed and supervised all hirings of staff at the Southlake school, including background and reference checks. Fetterman stated to parents and staff that she had worked with Davidson before and that he was an award-winning employee and highly qualified to care for their children, the lawsuit said.

The parents, after moving to Grapevine, decided to enroll their child in Carpe Diem in May 2022. The child was then 3 years old.

According to the lawsuit, Davidson was placed in small unsupervised classrooms with several children, which also states that Davidson was linked to individual children, including the victim. Fetterman and Endeavor, owner of the Southlake school, granted Davidson access to the victim from July 12 to October 11, 2022, the lawsuit says.

Davidson sexually assaulted the child and his actions caused serious and lifelong harm, according to the lawsuit. Davidson is currently facing criminal charges for sexual assault and was arrested in October. Only after he was arrested did Endeavor and Fetterman terminate Davidson’s employment, the lawsuit said.

Lionheart sent a letter to his students’ families on Oct. 17, 2022, admitting that two incidents of child abuse by Davidson had been brought to the attention of their employee and academy director, Castaneda, as early as 2021, according to the lawsuit. According to the indictment, Castaneda and Lionheart failed to notify appropriate authorities.

Further, the lawsuit alleges that Castaneda and Lionheart did not internally document the allegations of child abuse or state the allegations in their references to Davidson. According to the indictment, Castaneda was fired from Lionheart for covering up these abuse allegations after Davidson was arrested.

“Lionheart and Castaneda’s failure to take appropriate action after receiving the initial allegations of child abuse involving Davidson, their then-employee, directly caused the plaintiffs’ injuries and damages,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit charges Lionheart, Castaneda, Beall and Dobbs with negligence that caused injury and damage to the family.

The parents are seeking $100 million in damages.

Lionheart and Carpe Diem officials have previously declined to comment on pending lawsuits.

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