Carson preschool sex case: Campus shut down, pastor speaks out

CARSON, Calif.

In a letter obtained by Eyewitness News, the California Department of Social Services said it "determined that there was an immediate risk to the children in care" at the preschool. The letter said the school received a temporary suspension order Wednesday.

The department's licensing division visited the school Tuesday and said that during nap time, it observed a child putting their face near the buttocks of another child and began to bite at it. According to an evaluation report, there were five staff persons in the room, none of which saw the incident. One staff person was seated near the children and another was standing near them.

In an exclusive interview with Eyewitness News, the school's interim pastor, Mark Witte, said the staff members were shocked and saddened by the allegations.

"Most of all, I was shocked personally as a pastor from the allegations that were brought to us by state licensing today," Witte said. "Although we tried to address it on numerous occasions, it still continues to be part of the allegations and it is very distressing to me, especially after going through all those attempts to correct them."

In the letter, which was addressed to a parent, the department offers to assist in finding other child care arrangements.

Eyewitness News first broke this story on Friday when Richard McCarthy said his son received oral sex at the school multiple times.

On Tuesday, McCarthy was the first parent of eight different families to file a lawsuit against the school over allegations that their children participated in sexual activity on the campus.

In the suit, attorney Greg Owen alleges that a 5-year-old female student drew all over parent McCarthy's son's body with a marker during naptime in September.

"When I took his pants off to put him in the shower, he's got magic marker all over his privates and all over his butt," McCarthy said.

State regulators cited the school for that incident and for sexual contact between students.

In October, a teacher allegedly caught McCarthy's son in the bathroom receiving oral sex from the same 5-year-old girl who drew on him.

According to school officials, the school was set to close Friday because the director is leaving for personal reasons and no teacher wants the job. They insisted student sex has nothing to do with the closure. But that director is quoted by the state as saying, "We are closing down because our staff is not following through with proper procedure."

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