WALLINGFORD, Conn. — Several children endured and observed verbal and physical abuse while enrolled in a Wallingford home day care over the summer, as well as in years prior, according to the arrest warrants for the day care's owner and her boyfriend.
Brenda Fornal, 61, and her boyfriend, 66-year-old Grant Freer, were arrested on Nov. 22 for the alleged abuse that took place at the day care on 60 Ridgetop Road.
In late August, the mom of an 8-year-old and an 11-year-old enrolled in the day care alerted the Department of Children and Families to the concerns her children expressed to her about Fornal's behavior toward them and other children.
The 11-year-old had brought his cell phone to day care and recorded four hours of audio, which police and DCF later listened to during the investigation.
The audio picked up Fornal threatening one of the children, saying "if you don't answer me, I'm going to cut your [explitive] tongue off". Also heard was a child getting "smacked around" and someone threatening to wipe pee on the child's face, according to the warrant.
In interviews with police, many of the children said Fornal would hit and kick them "more than one time."
The 11-year-old told investigators he saw Fornal drag a 6-year-old girl and throw her into the pool after saying she did not want to go in. That same girl had later puked in the pool, and Fornal skimmed out the throw-up and put it in the girl's hair, the 11-year-old said.
The 11-year-old also said Fornal would threaten the children with a blue knife.
One victim called Fornal "my evil babysitter Brenda," and recalled when Fornal would pick her up by the hair or the neck when she was 4 or 5 years old, which left marks. The victim also recalled being sexually assaulted at the day care, telling investigators it is hard to talk about.
Another victim told investigators she was smacked with a belt "really hard...[in] every room in the house."
When Freer was at the day care, Brenda would take one of the victim's clothes off, according to the arrest warrant. Freer told Fornal to stop or Fornal would "get smacked in the head."
The 11-year-old told investigators that Freer has seen the abuse but did not do anything about it.
Blink camera, Amazon Echo, and cell phone footage and audio from the day care were also seized for evidence. When police searched the day care, they saw camera brackets in the rooms and by the pool, but not any visible cameras. Fornal said she took down the cameras "weeks ago," and the cameras were later found in the garage, basement, and back corner of the house.
Nothing of evidentiary value was found on the video footage, according to the warrant.
Fornal was charged with nine counts of risk of injury to a child, voyeurism with malice, seven counts of assault, two counts of threatening, and sexual assault.
Freer was charged with conspiracy to commit risk of injury to a child.
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