Two former daycare workers accused of abusing the children in their care faced a judge Wednesday for a preliminary hearing.
Kierra Nicole Spriggs, 24, of Woodbridge and Sarah A. Jordan, 29, also of Woodbridge, were scheduled to go on trial on misdemeanor charges of assault and battery, but News4's Northern Virginia reporter David Culver said those charges will be put off for the moment. During the preliminary hearing, two related felony child cruelty charges were sent to the grand jury.
Former co-workers of the co-defendants offered emotional testimonies of the abuse they allegedly witnessed at the Minnieland location, including one child's toes being stepped on and another being hit by a maraca.
"I saw Ms. [Kierra] Spriggs bite the child's finger.... I visibly saw [Sarah Jordan] trip [the child]," former co-worker Decire Edwards said.
The defense brought no witnesses.
A grand jury will get the case in April.
"The wheels of justice are firmly in motion," attorney James McCoart III said. "We are pleased with the court's ruling today."
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Authorities began their investigation after a report from the Virginia Department of Social Services claimed workers at the childcare facility stomped on children's bare toes, covered their mouths with blankets and sprayed them with full pressure hoses, among other alleged abuses.
Investigators say Spriggs and Jordan allegedly assaulted and abused at least three children between the ages of 1 and 2 at the Woodbridge daycare last year.
Parents told News4's Northern Virginia Bureau they noticed changes in their children’s behavior during the time of the alleged abuse.
Minnieland said it fired the teachers involved. Minnieland has 55 locations in Northern Virginia.