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Louisville day care worker accused of abusing children out of jail, on home incarceration

Racheal Flannery, who has been accused of abusing three children at the Vanguard Academy in eastern Jefferson County, posted bond Thursday morning.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Rachel Flannery, a day care worker who was charged on Friday, Sept. 30 with criminal abuse, appeared in court Thursday morning. 

Flannery was charged in relation to the assault of a 7-month-old child in her care at Vanguard Academy in Louisville.

Officials said her attorney filed a motion to have her $50,000 full cash bond reduced to $25,000. The motion was granted by the judge. 

In addition, officials said Flannery's bond was posted with stipulations by the judge that Flannery be placed on the Home Incarceration Program (HIP) and ordered Flannery to have no contact with the complaining witnesses nor the victim in the case, plus no new arrests or violations of the law.

Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 10 at 9 a.m. 

Original Story

A day care worker has been charged in the abuse of three children at The Vanguard Academy.

According to arrest records, detectives said 24-year-old Racheal Flannery was shown on surveillance video shoving a bottle into the mouth of a 7-month-old, squeeze the child, swing the child around and dropping the child onto the floor. The child suffered bruises to a cheek, an arm and abrasions on their lip.

A second arrest citation details camera footage showing the suspect "intentionally, violently handling" another infant -- this one 6-months-old -- placing both victims in a "situation that may cause serious physical injury or cruel punishment."

Flannery, who was taken into custody on Friday, faces three counts of criminal abuse of a child 12-years-old or younger. She pleaded not guilty to those charges during an arraignment the following day in Jefferson Circuit Court.

Louisville attorney Alex White is representing the victim's family and said a child of one of their firm's employees was also attacked inside the day care facility, located in the Norton Commons neighborhood, days ago.

White told us that child was hospitalized overnight. He also said information from The Vanguard Academy has been "slow and incomplete," saying he still has many questions as to how this happened and why the employee has been placed on indefinite leave, rather than being fired.

Meanwhile, the day care itself declined to comment on the investigation, but a letter emailed to parents offered vague details into the incident.

Credit: Jefferson District Court

It reads as follows:


It is with great sadness we are writing this email to inform you we have reported an apparent incident that occurred at the Vanguard Academy to the proper authorities. Investigative agencies including CPS and the LMPD are involved, and we are fully cooperating with them. We are notifying all families in our community so everyone will know of this matter. We are truly saddened this has happened at our center as our top priority is keeping your children safe."

The Vanguard Academy was operating normally on Friday.

A mother picking up her child spoke with WHAS11 but wanted to remain anonymous. She said parents like her have more questions and concerns than answers a day after receiving the letter.

"I do wish there were a few more details: What classroom the incident was involved in, if it was violence toward the child, if it was verbal, physical -- just something so that we would have less anxiety over the whole incident," she said. "Now, we're all speculating. Was our child in that classroom?"

She and other parents said prior to hearing these developments, they've mostly had good experiences at the center.

Written below is White's full statement:

"We can confirm that one of the members of our office’s family was a victim in what Vanguard Academy described as “an apparent incident.” At this time our only concern is the well-being of their child. Due to over-night hospitalization the day of the attack and the severe emotional distress their family is experiencing, they are exhausted but relieved that they still have their child to hold. For the sake of privacy in this difficult time, the family wishes to remain anonymous for now.

Unfortunately, we feel that information has been slow and incomplete coming from the daycare facility and therefore we still have more questions than answers about exactly what happened, why it happened and how it was possible for something like this to happen. We are stunned that Vanguard’s position is that the employee has been placed on an “indefinite leave of absence” and not immediately terminated. We will come together to support our team member’s family in their immediate need and take fierce action in the future if justice so requires.

Anyone with information related Vanguard’s conduct is encouraged to contact LMPD and send correspondence to Alex@ARWhiteLaw.com."

Both LMPD's Office of Sexual and Physical Abuse Investigations and the Kentucky Office of the Inspector General is looking into the case.

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