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Abuse alleged at military day-care center

Dec. 19, 2012 at 5:48 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army hired as many as 30 people for a day-care center in Arlington, Va., who should have been barred from contact with children, officials said.

The revelation Wednesday came one day after the U.S. Defense Department began a worldwide review of hiring practices at military child-care centers, The Washington Post reported.

After he learned about allegations of abuse by caregivers at the Child Development Center at Joint Base Myer-Henderson, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta announced the worldwide review Tuesday.

The Post reported court records said surveillance cameras showed workers at the day-care center at the base -- better known as Fort Myer -- dragging, pinching, kneeing and taunting toddlers.

The center is among the military's largest, the Post said, and is used by Pentagon employees.

Officials began a personnel review at Fort Myer in September after a parent complained about an allegedly abusive caregiver. The Post said the review turned up evidence that staffers had been hired despite allegations of past offenses that should have disqualified them from child-care jobs, a U.S. official familiar with the investigation told the Post.

"This is not just one or two or three people," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "This is a severe lapse in the background-checks system."

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