BETHLEHEM TWP., Pa. - The Northampton County District Attorney's office says it has reviewed documents obtained by 69 News concerning violations at a Bethlehem Township in-home daycare. The daycare's owner has been charged with child endangerment after a child was hurt.
The DA's office said that while it found 2014 inspection violations at Sheryl Chapel Family Daycare "concerning," particularly concerning "failure to supervise," it did not find that the violations rise to the level of warranting criminal charges. In addition, since the violations were reported in 2014, it falls outside the scope of the statute of limitations.
An inspection by the Department of Human Services in September of 2014 resulted in seven violations.
According to the report, an inspector observed nine unrelated children at the daycare. The maximum allowed was six.
The agency also observed "seven children unattended outside in the play area." According to the document, the provider responded "an unexpected doorbell interrupted the supervision of my day care children. All children were being supervised and are always supervised and will continue to be supervised."
The report also noted a violation for the provider admitting "she allowed a child to leave care and ride with another parent in order to get to school."
The provider responded "The child had missed the bus. This was not a planned trip. I was only trying to get the child to school safely. But for now on I will be calling any parent to transport their own child."
The daycare's owner, Sheryl Chapel, was charged with child endangerment earlier this month in relation to injuries allegedly sustained by a then one-and-a-half-year-old boy in July 2019.
The child's mother, Hayley Munsey, said that her son Oliver came home with bruises, marks, and scrapes. She said Oliver had injuries on his head, face, back, and ears.
According to a criminal complaint, there were several instances in which Chapel "neglected her duty of care." The report said that the child was run over with a toy car and hit by another child on a swing. The report said the boy also fell down steps. A separate DHS report obtained by 69 News said Oliver was also pushed and punched.
DHS revoked Chapel's license in July 2019 and told 69 News in a statement violations it found determined the "conditions constitute gross incompetence, negligence, and misconduct in operating a facility likely to constitute immediate and serious danger to the life or health of the children in care." Chapel is not able to operate while she appeals the revocation. Chapel is appealing the decision, according to both DHS and her attorney, Robert Sletvold.
Chapel is expected to return to court for the child endangerment charge in April.