After hearing hours of testimony on alleged child abuse at a day care center in Northern Virginia, a judge dismissed one-third of the charges against a former employee accused of spraying toddlers with a hose and encouraging them to fight.
A judge in Manassas ruled Tuesday there was not enough evidence to support 13 of 39 charges against Sarah Jordan, one of two women accused of abusing children age 16 months to 2 years old at Minnieland Academy at The Glen in Woodbridge, Virginia.
Five therapists took the stand for the prosecution, saying they used the play therapy technique to evaluate whether the toddlers were abused. Some of the children avoided eye contact and were unable to speak, they testified.
One of the therapists testified the way one child repeatedly buried two kitten figurines in sand was one indication of trauma.
A defense lawyer questioned that conclusion.
"Hiding the cats? Could it be hide-and-seek?" the lawyer asked.
"It could have been. Play therapy is not always 100 percent," the therapist responded. "It's not a science."
Previously happy children became aggressive, were afraid of water and even stopped talking after they were abused at a day care center in Northern Virginia, emotional parents testified on Monday.
Ten parents spoke Monday, some in tears, about seeing dramatic changes in their children after they joined Jordan's classroom.
One after the other, parents testified about troubling behavior that emerged when their little ones were moved into Jordan's class of toddlers, nicknamed "The Monkey Room."
Parents said their children became aggressive at home, stomped on their parents toes and became afraid of water. Some refused to bathe, their parents said, and most cried when they were dropped off at the center.
Police say the behavior is the result of Jordan and Kierra Spriggs, who also is accused of abuse.
Jordan has maintained her innocence since she initially was charged.
The trial will resume Wednesday, when the defense is expected to ask the judge to drop additional charges and a verdict is expected.