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Affidavit paints history of disturbing abuse at day care home

March 26, 1997

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ One boy returned home from day care repeatedly with the smell of cat food on his breath. Another was punched in the chest for digging up bushes. A sick girl was forced to clean up her vomit.

Those are just some of the accusations made public against Kathy Greene, who has provided day care out of her home and kept nine foster children during the past seven years. Ms. Greene is charged with manslaughter in the death of a Raegan McBride, a 2-year-old girl who died from a blow to the back of her skull at the home.

A police report unsealed Tuesday paints a frightening picture of what went on inside the home, portraying a woman who routinely wielded cruel punishments against children and even masturbated in front of them.

Ms. Greene is also accused of flogging one of her foster children with a belt, whacking his back 16 times. Two other foster children said they ran away after repeated beatings.

The affidavit also says that Raegan suffered other head injuries in the weeks before she died Feb. 24. Ms. Greene told hospital workers that the child had lapsed into unconsciousness after a seizure.

Ms. Greene, 54, pleaded innocent to manslaughter at her arraignment Tuesday, while Raegan’s mother spoke out for the first time about her daughter’s death.

Patrice Ward said she wants the federal government to investigate the state system that failed to protect her child.

``Our hearts are heavy over the death of our baby, but we have an inner peace knowing that although Raegan’s life was not spared, we are going to pursue every avenue available to us so that her death will save other children and their families from facing similar tragedies,″ she said.

The non-profit group that licensed Ms. Greene’s home is overseen by the state Department of Children and Families. The state Department of Public Health licenses foster parents, who are paid for taking in children.

In Connecticut, parents seeking the history of a licensed day-care provider can obtain information about substantiated complaints ranging from inadequate supervision to unsafe playground equipment. But information on abuse or neglect complaints is protected by state confidentiality laws.

DCF says it plans to reopen four abuse complaints, which were never proven, lodged against Ms. Greene between 1993 and 1996.

A special panel, set up by the governor, is looking into whether DCF could have better protected the child. State lawmakers are considering proposals to change the confidentiality laws.

Also Tuesday, the DCF said that it had fired Ms. Greene’s daughter, 30-year-old Demetria Salam, who is accused of attacking an 8-year-old girl with Ms. Greene last April. Police say they dragged the girl, pushed her and kneed her.

Ms. Salam was a social-worker trainee who had worked for DCF since March 1996.

Ms. Greene has been charged in three other cases since being arrested in Raegan’s death. She is being held on bond.

Outside the courthouse, Ms. Ward said she called the Department of Public Health to inquire about Ms. Greene’s history before placing Raegan under her care. She said the only thing she was told was that a boy had fallen off his bicycle at Ms. Greene’s home.

Joseph Moniz, Ms. Ward’s attorney, said the state should have done more.

``She did everything right. She asked them all the questions. But she didn’t get the answers.″

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