According to the attorneys for a family whose toddler was abused at a Tulsa church daycare, a jury has awarded $2 million to the girl's parents.
Attorneys said after three days of presenting evidence, the Tulsa County jury found that Kirk of the Hills Church acted in reckless disregard of the safety of children by withholding information from John Knox Presbyterian Church that daycare worker Meredith Howard was the subject of an investigation into the abuse of a little boy.
The family's attorney alleged John Knox unsuspectingly hired Howard as a daycare worker and while working at John Knox, Howard abused a little girl.
After the jury returned the verdict, Dr. Wayne Hardy, senior pastor of the Kirk, said the church would review its policy concerning references it provides about its daycare workers, attorneys said.
Kirk of the Hills released the following statement:
We are humbled by the jury's recent decision. Our hearts go out to the family and to the child. For over 40 years we've provided a loving, caring, Christ-centered environment for children. This has been our number one priority. In the coming weeks our church leadership will review the decision, as well as its effect on our current policies.
The legal team said it believes the outcome has helped keep children in the community safer by keeping child abusers away from childcare facilities.
Howard broke the thigh bone of a little boy and hurt the little girl so badly, she needed three surgeries.
Howard was sentenced to 12 years in prison, but she was freed just 10 months into the punishment.
A judge agreed to send her to the Rainbow Acres in Arizona for two years. The website says it's a place where adults with developmental disabilities receive loving care on a ranch-style campus.