BY EMILY BAUCUM, NEWS 4 SAN ANTONIO
FREDERICKSBURG, Texas - A church in Fredericksburg has fired a daycare worker who's now charged with 14 counts of sexually abusing children.
Police filed charges against 31-year-old Seth Batterton after three girls made outcries about his behavior. One of those children told investigators she was abused at the church's daycare.
Rev. George Lumpkin from Fredericksburg United Methodist Church says the safety of children and families is the church's top priority, so the daycare has been shut down as police investigate the scope of the alleged abuse.
The small town in the heart of the Hill Country is now shaken by the sex scandal. Police Chief Steve Wetz says the investigation began in late April.
"We had an outcry made to a school district which in turn was related to us [that] a young girl that was inappropriately touched," Chief Wetz says.
Two days later, a child at the church's daycare reported she was touched inappropriately by an employee. Both girls named Batterton as the suspect.
"Investigators took that information to the district attorney's office," Chief Wetz says.
The new accusations prompted investigators to reopen a 2012 case where Batterton was accused of sexually assaulting a child. Back then, a grand jury decided there wasn't enough evidence to charge him.
When Batterton applied to work at the church, the case never showed up on his background check.
"Once a person's been convicted then it's on their record," Chief Wetz says. "But if they've never been convicted then those types of things may not show up."
Batterton lost his job at the church and is now charged in all three cases. Church leaders chose to close the daycare effective this week.
"They were very open and they cooperated in every way with us," Chief Wetz says.
With Batterton behind bars, police are now asking any other victims to come forward.
The Department of Family and Protective Services is also conducting an investigation. Church leaders say they've been transparent with all families at the daycare and gave them time to find other child care options.