TULSA, Oklahoma – A Tulsa child care worker charged with two counts of child abuse bonded out of jail Thursday.
Meredith Howard, 38, is accused of hurting a 19-month-old girl at the John Knox Development Center by damaging her genitals so severely she needed surgery to repair the damage. Police said the incident occurred on November 4, 2010.
Howard's second charge stems from an incident at a "Mother's Day Out" program at Kirk of the Hills Presbyterian Church in December 2008. Howard was accused of breaking the leg of an eight-month-old boy. Police say Howard was suspended for a time from her job there, but returned to work, before later applying to work at John Knox.
Meanwhile, parents at John Knox Child Development Center got their questions answered in an hour long briefing Thursday night. Representatives of the church-based day care defended their actions in hiring Howard and questioned whether her previous employer could be legally liable for not reporting a previous incident.
Stephanie Taylor, the director of the Center, said she completed the normal "due diligence" before hiring Howard, including background checks through OSBI and DHS. She said they checked her references, including her then-employer Kirk of the Hills Presbyterian.
More than 150 parents were at the meeting Thursday - where they heard from the church pastor and an attorney. Parents described an emotional meeting, where both the audience and some speakers cried.
Most parents were supportive of the John Knox program and staff.
Howard is expected to be in court on November 18th.