Two daycare workers have been arrested after surveillance footage allegedly captured one of them burning five toddlers with a hot glue gun while the other watched and laughed, police and prosecutors say.
The Chicago Police Department said Lizandra Cosme, 32, and Susana Gonzalez, 27, face charges after five children were injured at the Children’s Learning Place, where they were working, on Dec. 1.
Video footage allegedly showed Cosme putting hot glue on the hands and arms of the five 2-year-olds, who appear to grimace in pain as they’re burned, according to ABC 7 Chicago and CBS Chicago. Gonzalez, an assistant at the daycare center, can be seen laughing nearby, the news stations said.
“Each of the child victims winced and some whined at the hot glue gun application,” a prosecutor said Monday at a court appearance, according to ABC7.
Cosme was denied bail at the hearing.
Three girls and two boys were hurt in the incident, police said, but the extent of their injuries is unclear. It is also not immediately known what prompted the burnings, the Chicago Tribune reports.
During Monday’s hearing, Cosme’s defense attorney said Cosme’s actions were not malicious, according to ABC7. The attorney said Cosme, who has been working with children for a dozen years, “screwed up.”
Prosecutors said Cosme brought the hot glue gun from home to work on a Christmas project, ABC7 reported. She was watching 16 children at the time of the hot glue gun incident, the news station reported.
Cosme and Gonzalez could not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday. Cosme was arrested Sunday and faces five felony counts of aggravated battery to a child, police said. Her next court appearance is Dec. 26. Gonzalez was charged with five misdemeanor counts of causing the circumstances of endangering a child.
The Children’s Learning Place is a licensed child-care facility that serves children between the ages of 6 weeks and 6 years, according to its website. There are four locations in Chicago.
In a statement, Lissa Druss Christman, a spokeswoman for the daycare center, said two workers were “terminated” immediately after the alleged incident. “The well being of our students is paramount,” Christman said.
The Department of Children and Family Services said it is investigating the incident and did not provide further details.