As for who knew what and when, that depends on who you ask.
While state authorities are investigating, Anne Mallek, who is the Anne of Miss Anne’s, spoke for the first time publicly to 41 Action News Anchor Christa Dubill.
“We are fully cooperating with the Department of Family and Children and in the state of Kansas we are doing everything we are asked to do,” she said, referring to the Kansas Department for Children and Families.
“As you guys have already stated, we have already terminated the teacher and honestly that’s all I have because the investigation is still going on,” she said, completing the comments she’d prepared to give.
The conversation continued.
When I asked when she saw the photos, she says it was when DCF showed them to her.
“I saw the photos when the DCF lady showed them to me,” she said, clarifying that was around March 21st or 22nd.
As to whether or not the other owner saw the pictures before DCF showed them to them in late March, she said, to her knowledge, she didn’t believe so.
“This is a good business. I do have a good reputation in this town. And the people that do know me know I wish nothing but the best for their children,” she said.
A sentiment expressed by a family with a daughter in the center.
Bill and Amanda Corbet say their daughter Sophie is very happy at Miss Anne’s.
“We’ve had nothing but good experiences with the daycare. Every time she goes there she’s happy,” said Bill.
“It’s a scary picture that’s for sure,” he said. But adds, “I think it’s negligence. I don’t think anybody did anything to try and abuse anyone. I think maybe some laziness went on and that’s the end of it,” he said.
Sophie’s mom agrees.
“I will say it is comforting to know the teacher no longer works there and that they’ve installed cameras in the classroom. That and the fact they’ve been open with us is the reason we continue to use their services,” she said.
41 Action News was told by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment the incident was entered into their system by the Leavenworth County Surveyor on March 22. They say it was at that time they immediately alerted the Department for Children and Families, who in turn immediately visited the day care and alerted parents.
But 41 Action News has obtained email correspondence between the whistleblower and the Leavenworth County employee dated February 16, in which the situation is described in detail and the whistleblower said she has pictures.
The whistleblower wrote:
“…the other day she had two babies in their sleep sacks with their arms inside the sack along with it being tied in the back so they couldn’t move much at all.”
The whistleblower said she “did get a pic of each child and then removed the tie and their arms as well…”
The county worker responds multiple times, including saying, in part:
“I appreciate you coming forward with this information. You did the right thing,” and “This is something we definitely need to check out”.
In the emails, the whistleblower also references taking the pictures on February 2 and reporting the incident to the “higher ups”.
She writes, “..when I talked to my higher ups they moved me to another room”.
The state is still in the process of investigating.