Man charged with sexual assault at Edmonton daycare

EDMONTON — Parents picking up their kids Friday at a daycare near downtown Edmonton were shocked to learn the owner has been charged with sexually assaulting a child under his care.

EDMONTON — Parents picking up their kids Friday at a daycare near downtown Edmonton were shocked to learn the owner has been charged with sexually assaulting a child under his care.

The province ordered the owner, who insists he is innocent, to stay away from the day care during the month-long investigation, which culminated in charges Thursday.

“(Staff) said he had been on vacation,’’ said Bluesky Gladue, who has a one- year-old son at the centre.

The owner would regularly pick up and drop off kids who needed rides home, parents said. One parent said the owner went out of his way to postpone her payments when she had trouble affording the centre’s fees. Child Protection Staff Sgt. Kent Henderson said downtown patrol officers were called May 3 to investigate the alleged sexual assault of a child inside Northland Day Care, in the neighbourhood of Parkdale.

The province then put a condition on the day care’s licence, prohibiting the owner from going to the day care when children are there and from having any contact with them, said a spokesman with Children and Youth Services, the provincial department that licenses and monitors daycares.

“That was put in place immediately after the allegations were made as a precautionary measure on our part,’’ Trevor Coulombe said. “The precautionary step was taken to ensure the safety and well-being of the kids.”