Forest Hill preschool teacher charged with abusing student

A teacher at Celebree Learning Center in Forest Hill was arrested and charged Jan. 6 with abusing a 3-year old child who was in her care.

Kaitlin Marie Krause, 24, of Belcamp, is charged with second-degree child abuse, second-degree assault and neglect of a minor, according to court documents.

According to Edward Hopkins, spokesperson for the Harford County Sheriff's Office, around 12:45 p.m. on Dec. 30, deputies responded to the Celebree Learning Center at 1517 Rock Spring Road for a report of an employee allegedly assaulting a 3-year old girl.

"Deputies were told by the child's parents that the child was reported to have suffered a scratch to the face caused by [Krause]," Hopkins said in an e-mail.

Hopkins said the girl told her parents Krause grabbed her face.

Harford County Child Advocacy Center detectives investigating the case reviewed a surveillance video from the learning center, Hopkins said.

"The video showed the child being grabbed and thrust into a wooden chair," Hopkins wrote. "Her face was grabbed, causing a laceration to the child's cheek, and with enough force to whip the child's head backwards."

Hopkins said the video showed the child was also thrown from the chair to the floor.

Following the investigation, Hopkins said Krause was arrested and charged on Jan. 6. Krause was taken before the District Commissioner and was released after posting a $5,000 bond the following day, Hopkins said.

Learning Center

Krause was fired on Dec. 30, as soon as the corporate office became aware of the situation, Lisa Henkel, vice president of corporate development for Celebree Learning Center, said Thursday.

"We determined it was a valid issue and terminated the employee," Henkel said. "We contacted child protective services and the [Maryland State Department of Education] office of child care."

Henkel said because both offices were closed because the holiday, Celebree Learning Center contacted the Harford County Sheriff's Office.

All teachers of Celebree Learning Center are required to go through a mandatory background check with the state, FBI and child protective services, Henkel said.

"There were no sort of warning signs or red flags," Henkel said. She said there was never been any previous child abuse incidents at Celebree Learning Centers.

Henkel said all Celebree Learning Centers are equipped with surveillance equipment for monitoring.

"It's not a requirement, but it is something we do to protect our children and our families," Henkel said.

Henkel said she is not sure if Krause was the only teacher in the room at the time of the incident.

At Celebree Learning Center, adult supervision is based on a student-teacher ratio of 10-1.

Celebree Learning Center has been providing educational based child care since 1994. The centers work with children six weeks to 12 years old.

"The teacher has already been replaced," Henkel said. "The children are still attending the class and all of the parents have been notified."

Henkel emphasized the investigation was prompted by Celebree Learning Facility.

"We take the protection and safety of our children very, very seriously," Henkel said. "Once we were aware of the situation, we notified the authorities."

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