Day care admin convicted of assault and battery of a child in her care

Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 6:59 PM EDT
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TAZEWELL, Va. (WVVA) - This daycare center was owned and operated by Angela Leighton, who also served as the administrator. The assault at the heart of the conviction occurred at Bright Beginnings in Tazewell and led to the investigation back in January of this year, where a three year old boy claimed “Miss Angie whipped me.”

The probe by Virginia’s Department of Social Services and the State Police found red marks on the child’s back and hindquarters. They were still visible the following day when Social Services began their investigation.

The investigation wrapped up in March, Leighton was formally charged in April, and in June. She was found guilty of assault & battery in juvenile court. Leighton is 41 years old. The Commonwealth’s Attorney out of Bristol was brought in to prosecute the case because of a conflict of interest. Leighton’s husband works as a police officer for the Town of Tazewell. Mrs. Leighton received a 12 month suspended sentence and was ordered to pay a $549 fine for a class 1 misdemeanor.

Leighton’s criminal conviction comes on the heels of repeated violations found by DSS at Bright Beginnings dating back to 2018. Nearly every complaint details similar problems, lack of required training and background checks, and failure to keep hazardous materials out of the reach of children. There were comments in DSS reports of children being restrained in highchairs with bungee cord as punishment and unsafe playground equipment. Though being found in serious violations since 2018 the day care was allowed to remain open until Sept. 2 2022.

One parent who declined an on camera interview, tells WVVA they were never informed of what was going on behind closed doors at Bright Beginnings.

That’s one of the things the DSS flagged, reporting the former daycare failed to post notices visibly. On two spot visits they found the notices in a desk and not posted on the wall as required.

One of many reason that may have led to the closure of this daycare center.