Tentative court date set for four charged in daycare cruelty case

Published 8:00 am Saturday, November 13, 2021

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VIDALIA — A court date has been tentatively set for Dec. 1 for four women facing child cruelty charges stemming from an investigation of Noah’s Ark Christian Childcare in Vidalia.

Seventh Judicial District Attorney Brad Burget, whose office would be prosecuting the case, said whether or not the court process gets pushed back from that depends on whether or not the state delivers case files by that date.

“Judging strictly by what we’ve heard, it’s a lot they have to go through. It could take weeks,” he said.

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Since Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office began its investigation of the daycare in mid-October, three employees and the owner have been charged with child cruelty. After the arrest of the first employee, the case was given to Louisiana State Police to investigate further due to a conflict, CPSO stated.

The four women charged in the case remain out on bond and the daycare remains closed.

Parents of the children involved have since spoken out, expressing hurt and anger at the daycare.

Annabelle Wilson, the first parent to report abuse, said she witnessed a recording of her 14-month-old son being struck multiple times in the head and the back by an employee of the daycare.

Wilson said the injuries to her son required X-rays and that “a bloody blanket was submitted into evidence.” Wilson said that was all she could say about the extent of her son’s injuries.

She added her son was examined at a clinic and the X-rays did not reveal any broken bones or internal injuries.

Lysa C. Richardson, 36, owner of Noah’s Ark, has been charged with three counts of cruelty to a juvenile and has been released a bond that was reduced from $375,000 to $75,000. Her initial bond had been set by Judge John Reeves in Division B. before the case was transferred to Judge Kathy A. Johnson, Division A, who reduced Richardson’s bond to $75,000, according to court records.

Julianne Perales, 27, has been charged with 11 counts of cruelty to a juvenile with a 110,000 bond; Bridget K. Delaughter, 34, has been charged with four counts cruelty to a juvenile with a $40,000 bond and Taylor Ragonesi, 19, has been charged with three counts of cruelty to a juvenile with a $45,000 bond.

All three were employed at the daycare.

Provided that the district attorney’s office pursues the same charges, conviction of a cruelty to a juvenile charge carries a penalty of no more than 20 years in prison for a child who is younger than 8 years old, Burget said.

In the instance of multiple counts of child cruelty, “It would be up to the court’s discretion as to whether that sentence is concurrent or consecutive,” Burget said.