UPDATE: Opelika daycare worker found not guilty of assaulting child in her care

Local News

Opelika, Ala. (WRBL)  A daycare worker at an Opelika childcare center has been found not guilty of Assault 3rd Degree stemming from her December arrest by Opelika Police. Wednesday, a municipal judge found Gladys Moore not guilty of assaulting a child in her care at Greater Peace Child Development Center.

“I was pleased to see Ms. Gladys exonerated and found not guilty of the assault charge in court. I have to know Ms. Gladys for 15 or more years and witnessed her love and care for children at Greater Peace Child Development Center. Our missing of serving children and their families continues at the center,” said Pastor Clifford Jones.

Shanna Crowder, the child’s mother, tells News 3 she stands by what she and her co-worker saw inside the child care center on December 6th.

“I popped in on her at 1:30 in the afternoon where normally I pick her up around 5:00.  A co-worker and I watched the teacher snatch her off her cot after hitting her three times in the back and taking her to her chair, slamming her down in her chair and shoving her chair to the table and slamming her head down on the table by the back of her head,” described Crowder.

Crowder says she does not regret bringing her concerns to Opelika police who made the arrest.

“I am thankful my daughter is safe from this and is starting to get back to her normal routine. These are our babies, and we will not take it lightly,” said Shanna Crowder.

Guy Gunter prosecuted the case in municipal court.

“Following a bench trial, Judge Wesley McCollum found Gladys Moore not guilty of assault in the third degree.  Numerous witnesses testified for both the prosecution and the defense.  Harassment is a lesser included offense of the crime of assault in the third degree. Generally, the lesser included offense merge into, the greater offense. Because Ms. Moore was found not guilty of the assault third degree she cannot be retried for harassment a lesser included offense,” explained Gunter.

Attorney Walter Northcutt represented Moore at Wednesday’s bench trial and relased the following information to News 3 when asked for a comment.

“Gladys would like first to thank the numerous people who came to the trial to support her. Mothers of former students, other daycare teachers, the administration and staff of Greater Peace Daycare and Rev. Jones. Gladys has provided loving and nurturing care to the small children of the Opelika area for over 16 years and never once has anyone ever had an issue with the care she has provided to hundreds of small children. She never doubted that she would be vindicated of this charge and placed her fate into the hands of the Lord,” said Northcutt.

Northcutt says Gladys looks forward to returning to the classroom.

“For those who jumped to judgement of her based on the article in the newspaper, which reported only one side of the story, and the biased posting on social media, please let this serve as a reminder to us all that until you have heard the full and complete facts we shouldn’t judge others based on heresy and bias information. Especially from information posted on social media,” said Northcutt.

Northcutt concluded by saying, “Guy Gunter, the City of Opelika Prosecutor did a very good job to ensure all the facts at his disposal were presented to the Court in a professional manner, and Judge McCollum did a good job of ensuring that all the Parties involved were allowed to be heard. Judge McCollum gathered all the facts he could from the various forms of evidence before him and then applying the law as it is written. In the end, the facts did not support the charge, and therefore justice was served,” said Northcutt.
 

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