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Former Norton Commons childcare worker pleads not guilty to alleged abuse

Inside a court room, a woman in a hoodie stands at the podium surrounded by people in suits.
Jess Clark
Former Vanguard employee Racheal Flannery (center in hoodie) pleaded not guilty in a Jefferson County courtroom Monday.

Former Vanguard Academy employee Racheal Flannery pleaded not guilty in court Monday to ten counts of criminal abuse in the first degree.

Flannery is accused of violently handling 10 infants she was caring for at the Norton Commons childcare center in September. Some allegedly sustained injuries and needed medical treatment.

According to court documents, police said Flannery was caught on video repeatedly violently forcing a bottle into an infant’s mouth, shaking the child, squeezing the child’s head, aggressively swinging the child and intentionally dropping the child.

Police said footage also shows Flannery abused two other infants in September. According to court documents, at least two children received medical treatment for injuries.

Flannery is out on bond and under home incarceration. She is allowed no contact with children she’s not related to.

Several Vanguard families are also suing Flannery for the alleged assaults. They’re also suing Vanguard, facility owner Ann Revell and several other employees for allegedly ignoring warning signs and earlier complaints of mistreatment.

Attorneys for several Vanguard families say the center has a history of mistreating children, pointing to state inspection reports going back to 2013,as previously reported by WHAS11.

According to those attorneys, state reports found Vanguard employees have “smacked children, slung a child by the leg,” and vaped in front of them.

In their complaint, they accuse Revell of “creating a corporate culture in which children were routinely put in harm’s way, failing to adequately train and supervise staff, and …committing other acts and omissions.”

The next pre-trial conference is set for Jan. 18.

Jess Clark is LPMs Education and Learning Reporter. Email Jess at jclark@lpm.org.