A Farmington man has been charged with first-degree sexual abuse after the Ontario County Sheriff's Office said an investigation revealed he had sexual contact with a 6-year-old girl at Jack 'n Jill Child Care in Victor, where he was employed.
During a press conference today at the Ontario County Jail, Sheriff Philip Povero said Sean M. Smith, 43, of 1444 Wood Drive, Apt. 18, was charged Tuesday.
Povero said that on Monday, the mother of two girls, ages 3 and 6, who attended the child care center on Framark Drive called 911 after her daughters made disclosures that she thought may be related to sexual abuse and that may have occurred at the center. A deputy interviewed the 6-year-old and "discovered that abuse apparently occurred earlier in the day in the day care center," Povero said.
Interviews with the two girls were then conducted Tuesday at the Child Advocacy Center of the Finger Lakes in Phelps, Povero said. He said the investigation indicated the 6-year-old engaged in touching the male private areas of an employee at the child care center. Povero said investigators identified the employee as Smith, and he was subsequently charged. Povero said Smith made admissions "consistent with disclosures."
Smith was arraigned Tuesday in Victor Town Court and sent to the Ontario County Jail on $50,000 cash or $100,000 bond.
Smith is scheduled to reappear in court at 1 p.m. Nov. 7, but a preliminary hearing will need to be scheduled prior to that date, said Ontario County District Attorney R. Michael Tantillo.
Povero said the sheriff's office is not aware of any criminal convictions of Smith. He said Smith was an employee at the child care center for about six years and worked as a child care aide.
The sexual abuse charge has a maximum sentence of seven years in prison, Povero said.
Povero said the interview process continues with the 3-year-old girl. The investigation is ongoing and has included reaching out to families through the child care center, he said.
The sheriff's office is being assisted in the investigation by Ontario County Child Protective Services, the New York State Office of Child and Family Services and the Child Advocacy Center. Anyone with information or concerns about the case is asked to call the sheriff's office's criminal investigations division at (585) 396-4638.
"Optimistically, we hope there are no other victims," Povero said. "We are not aware of any other victims, but it is an ongoing investigation."
Jennifer Brownell, program director at the Child Advocacy Center, said that if parents have a concern, they should contact the Child Advocacy Center at (315) 548-3232 or the sheriff's office.
"The strong message is to not be alarmed and not alarm your children," she said. "If you have any concerns at all, please feel free to reach out to us."
Page 2 of 2 - The management and staff at Jack 'n Jill has been cooperative in the investigation, Povero added.
Natalie Conciardo, director of operations at Jack 'n Jill, at said the center is currently supporting law enforcement in Ontario County and will continue to do so throughout the investigation.
"The safety and well-being of the children in our care is our number one priority — everything we do is based on that concept," said Conciardo. "This individual was given a background check and was cleared to be employed per the Office of Children and Family Services regulations."
Safe Harbours of Ontario County is offering counseling support to parents and children, said Conciardo. Representatives will be at Jack 'n Jill Thursday from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m., she said.
Parents who have questions should call the center at (585) 924-9550, or contact Safe Harbours at (315) 548-3232.
— Includes reporting by Melody Burri