Nursery Closed After 'A Number of Children' Potentially Sexually Assaulted—Police Speak to More Than 100 Families

A U.K. nursery has had its license suspended as an ongoing investigation into allegations of sexual assault identified multiple potential victims, police say.

Authorities said allegations of sexual assault surfaced on July 29 this year, linked to a facility in the seaside town of Torquay, south west England, called Jack and Jill Childcare. The same day, one suspect was arrested before being released on bail until 22 November, officials said.

More than 100 families or guardians with children who attended the nursery have been contacted in relation to the investigation, the BBC reported.

Devon & Cornwall Police said today that more than 250 hours of surveillance camera footage from inside the building have now been reviewed.

Investigators currently believe contact with the children, seemingly the work of a lone employee, appeared to have only taken place in a nursery setting.

"A number of children aged 2+ have been identified as potential victims of contact offences," said Acting Detective Chief Inspector James Stock. "The contact appears to be limited to within the nursery setting and we do not believe that any other member of staff had knowledge of these matters. These appear to be the actions of a lone individual, and the offences do not involve the taking or distributing of any images."

Det. Stock said the suspect was "immediately removed" and given strict bail conditions. The person has since moved out of the local area while the probe continues, he added.

Nancy Meehan, who is the deputy director of the Torbay Children's Services, said a helpline has now been set up for anyone who has concerns about the sexual assault allegations. The helpline can be reached via 01803 208820 between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., from Monday to Friday.

According to local news site Devon Live, Ofsted, an education and children's services regulator that reports to the U.K. government, discovered Jack and Jill Childcare was not complying with a legal demand for urgent safeguarding changes after an unannounced visit in October.

Det. Stock said: "Following further investigation, a number of concerns around safeguarding matters were raised by police to partner agencies. Ofsted subsequently made the decision to suspend the licence of the nursery whilst they further investigate those concerns."

The investigator confirmed officers from a public protection unit, alongside social services, had visited the parents and guardians linked to the potentially victimized children and stressed they will continue to provide specialist support. "We will continue to work with our partner agencies and those affected by these matters to progress this investigation," Det. Stock noted.

The website for Torquay's Jack and Jill Childcare in Torquay is currently offline. An entry for the nursery on the reference site daynurseries.co.uk appears to have been deleted or removed.

Jack and Jill Childcare
Authorities said allegations of sexual assault surfaced on July 29 this year, linked to a facility in the seaside town of Torquay, south west England, called Jack and Jill Childcare. Google Maps
Nursery Closed After 'A Number of Children' Potentially Sexually Assaulted—Police Speak to More Than 100 Families | News