Vallejo Daycare Shut Down Amid Accusations Of Molestation
VALLEJO (CBS 5) — The California Department of Social Services has shut down a home daycare in Vallejo after police accused the owner’s son of molesting two young girls and also confiscated dozens of digital images of children.
“We have seized some pictures and video,” said Sgt. Kenny Park, a Vallejo Police Department spokesman. “At this time, we’re trying to investigate whether they are related to child pornography.”
Thursday morning, Vallejo police arrested Samuel Cowper, 30, at Mary’s Daycare, a facility which also happens to be his parent’s home in the 1300 block of Elliott Drive. Cowper also lives at that residence. He is now is in the Solano County Jail, charged with lewd and lascivious acts with a minor. Bail is set at $966,667.
Officials said two girls have come forward recently to report Cowper molested them. One child, who is now 13, told investigators Cowper touched her private areas at least twice a month when she was between the ages of 3 and 7.
“The second victim is approximately 8 years old,” said Park. “And she’s claiming up until about two years ago the suspect was taking pictures of her while she was disrobing.”
According to documents provided to CBS 5 from the California Department of Social Services, the state has shut down the daycare facility temporarily, and has notified the providers, Mary and Charles Cowper, that the CDSS will also move to revoke their license permanently. Also, the state has banned Samuel Cowper for life from any facilities managed by the CDSS.
“We’re citing the licensees for their failure to act in their role of protecting the health, safety and welfare of people in their care,” said Michael Weston, a spokesman for the California Department of Social Services.
It is unclear whether confiscated photos and video contain any images of the daycare kids. Officials estimate as many as eighty kids have been watched by Mary’s Daycare since 2002.
The Vallejo Police Department is concerned there may be more victims, so they are asking parents to call Detective John Whitney at 1-800-488-9383 if they suspect their children may have been abused.
(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)