MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Miami Beach teacher accused of abusing young children in her care faced a judge Friday after her arrest a day before.
Clara Quintero-Gonzalez, 54, a teacher at Lincoln-Marti child care center, is facing charges of aggravated child abuse, child abuse and child neglect.
A judge set her bond Friday at $25,000 on all five charges.
Quintero-Gonzalez came from Cuba about six years ago. Her daughters and niece were also in court but unwilling to speak.
Miami Beach Police said her alleged victims are between the ages of 2 and 3.
The investigation was prompted when Laura Pantano said she picked up her 4-year old daughter last week and said she saw Quintero-Gonzalez, over surveillance video, slapping a 3-year old boy after grabbing him on the shoulders and rattling him.
“She hit him four times and then on his hands and by seeing that at that moment I had no doubts and I went upstairs and I started fighting with her, a verbal fight,” said Pantano. “And I accused her and I told her I was calling the police right then.”
Detectives said they have surveillance video of other incidents, including one instance where she slapped and hit a 3-year old. In another incident, police say Quintero-Gonzalez is seen striking a 2-year-old in the face with her right elbow, then striking the child with her hand.
In a third reported incident, police said surveillance video captured Quintero-Gonzalez striking another 3-year-old student without provocation. This time, according to the report, she used her right hand to strike the child in the right leg.
In the fourth and final reported incident, police said cameras also caught Quintero-Gonzalez hit a 2-year-old child with a closed right fist on the right arm and then several more times a little later.
Her attorney pointed out how emotional the whole thing is for Quintero-Gonzalez’s only support system.
“Listen this is a serious allegation. There is a lot of emotions at stake when allegations deal with young children it pulls at your heartstrings no matter what side you’re on. At this time, we’re gonna prepare and hopefully get her out before this long weekend,” said Defense Attorney Jordan Rebird.
If released, she will be put under house arrest with a GPS ankle monitor. The judge also ordered her to turn over her Cuban passport and stay away from children under 12-years-old.