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State moves to revoke license of Side By Side Child Care in Southampton following arrests, abuse reports

An unidentified adult and child walk into Side

An unidentified adult and child walk into Side by Side Day Care Center on North Sea Road in Southampton on Sept. 1, 2015. Credit: James Carbone

The state has moved to revoke the license of a Southampton day care center after two of its employees were arrested late last month, stemming from reports of infant abuse.

A spokesman from the state Office of Children and Family Services confirmed that the state moved on Saturday to revoke the license for Side By Side Child Care on North Sea Road after the center failed to correct several violations that the state cited in late August.

The two child care workers -- Sarah M. Dawber, 23, of Patchogue and Kathleen W. Culver, 33, of Southampton -- force-fed and "slammed" infants to the ground, according to court papers released last week. One of the workers told police that was routine practice, court papers said.

Among the nine violations issued to Side By Side Child Care on Aug. 28, according to the state agency's website, several relate to the punishment of children. In the comments added next to the violations are reminders that "Corporal punishment is prohibited," "Withholding or using food, rest or sleep as a punishment is prohibited," and "Methods of discipline, interaction or toilet training which frighten, demean or humiliate a child are prohibited."

No one at Side by Side Child Care could be reached for comment Tuesday night.

Dawber is accused of grabbing an 18-month-old girl's head and forcing food into her mouth, "causing the child to gag and eventually vomit," according to court papers.

Police said Culver threw an 18-month-old boy to the floor, "causing his head to hit the ground." No other injuries were reported.

The center will be allowed to keep operating, a spokesman for the state said.

According to a statement from the state agency, Side By Side has 30 days to request a hearing before an administrative law judge to contest the proposed revocation, and the center may operate during that time under enhanced monitoring by the state.

"The New York State Office of Children and Family Services investigated complaints of improper treatment of children at Side by Side Day Care Center in Southampton. As a result of the information obtained during the investigation, OCFS moved on September 3 to revoke the center's license," the statement reads.

Dawber and Culver were each charged with one count of child endangerment, Southampton police said. They are scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 16.

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