A Virginia day care provider charged with sex crimes is still licensed to provide child care in his home.
Claudio Vargas Lazo and his wife run a state-licensed day care out of their town house in Chantilly. The license is active even though the license holder stands accused of improperly touching children.
Vargas Lazo was arrested last week on three counts of aggravated sexual battery. He's accused of improperly touching two girls.
CeCe Holman, a longtime northern Virginia home day care provider and a leader in the field, recognizes accusations don't equal guilt but believes first and foremost, children must be protected.
"If there is enough evidence to have them arrested, him/her, then the licensing inspector should be able to say, 'Hey, here's what's happening; we should pull the license,'" Holman said.
But under current Department of Social Services regulations, the day care licensing inspector must complete their own independent investigation before deciding if any sanction, like a license revocation, is merited. Licensing Administrator Jenifer Nalli said the day care operator has due process rights.
"We have to make a distinction between there being an allegation that someone has committed this act versus we making the finding that they have in fact or that we believe they have," Nalli said.
She said even if a license revocation is ordered, the day care provider can choose to appeal.
While the state license would allow Vargas Lazo to continue to care for kids, the judge in this case will not. As a condition of Vargas Lazo's release from jail, he may not have have contact with any children under age 13.
No one answered the door when the Northern Virginia Bureau went to the town house this week.