DSS file reveals more details in day care abuse case

‘She would force the child to lay down and press their heads down to face a certain way’
Published: Apr. 27, 2023 at 6:22 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ANDERSON, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - New documents reveal exactly what investigators saw on surveillance video that led them to charge an employee with nine counts of unlawfully placing a child at risk or causing harm.

Janice Ruinard, a former employee at First Presbyterian Church Day School in Anderson, was arrested on April 6 after a weeks-long investigation. Footage from inside the day care showed Ruinard being rough with children.

We obtained the Department of Social Services case file on the investigation through a Freedom of Information Request.

According to the documents, a parent asked the day care director, April Spears, to review video for an “unrelated incident” on Feb. 27.

“The parent thought they heard a caregiver speaking harshly to a child in the toddler classroom in the afternoon pick up time,” the complaint form said.

But when she reviewed the video, Spears instead saw Ruinard “roughly” handling the children during naptime.

“We were shocked at how roughly [redacted] handled the children as she put them down for their nap,” Spears said in her statement to to DSS. “She would force the child to lay down and press their heads down to face a certain way. She pulled their legs and arms down by their side. She would aggressively pat them on the back. Some children she would jerk up and in a rough manner place on the mat.”

Spears also said Ruinard would be rough with the children, all of whom were under two, when putting them in timeout.

A timeline in the case file said Spears played back the video at 3 p.m. By 5 p.m. she called Ruinard back to the day school.

“We sat together and discussed the incidents. She kept saying she was sorry and she had been rough trying to get them to go to lay down and go to sleep,” Spears’ statement said.

Then, Ruinard was terminated.

The next day, Spears and another employee reviewed more footage.

“There were numerous incidents where she was very rough with the children. Most incidents occurred at naptime but there were others during circle time and craft activities where children were harshly put in time out,” the statement said.

The timeline said Spears called their DSS specialist the night of Feb. 28. The next day they called parents and asked them to come in.

DSS contacted the Anderson Police Department on March 1 and a criminal investigation followed.

Ruinard is currently out on bond.

We reached out to First Presbyterian Church for comment, but pastor Dennis Tedder said they have not comment at this time.

Families of the some of the children involved are also considering taking legal action against the church.