Good god this is awful. A daycare worker in Iowa has been accused of sexually abusing 23 children. Joshua Ritchie, 23, worked at Cornerstone Childcare in Nampa, a city about 20 miles outside of Boise, and was arrested on August 21 after a 5-year-old boy told his parents he'd been sexually molested. Ritchie's being held on a $2.5 million bond and faces life in prison if convicted.
Unfortunately, it gets worse. Ritchie not only worked at a daycare, but he also worked in the Nampa school district.
He was a substitute member of the kitchen staff there, as well as for the Idaho Arts Charter School.
Evidently, Ritchie knew where to work if he wanted access to children, which would be a noble cause if not, of course, for the seriously disturbing accusations. It's worth mentioning that investigators found child porn on Ritchie's home computer.
Parents are reportedly calling the authorities, obviously concerned that their children came in contact with Ritchie, but police are still sorting out all the evidence. As of now, all we know is that Ritchie admitted to investigators that he sexually abused 23 kids between the ages of 5 and 12.
Chilling that he knew the exact number, right? Sounds like someone was keeping score.
It's every parent's worst nightmare that something would go wrong at daycare. It's the Joshua Ritchies of the world that make dropping your kid off at Sunshine Appleseed Daycare in Anytown, USA seem so terrifying, regardless of the place's certifications and their recommendations and their commitment to using organic play-dough.
But it's important, I feel, to remember that daycare isn't necessarily dangerous, it's the child abusers that are dangerous. It's horrifying when the two combine, no doubt about it, but sometimes it's easy to forget that, most of the time, they don't collide -- a blessing almost as it is a given.
If guilty, I hope Mr. Ritchie gets the book thrown at him, and I hope all those kids he injured get the help they need.
Do stories like this about daycare make you worried about your own childcare?
Photo via Canyon County Sherriff's Dept