Three Charged In Investigation Of Day-care Center
AKRON, Colo. (AP) _ The owner of an Akron day-care center and her two sons were charged Thursday with a total of 11 felonies stemming from allegations of ritualistic and sexual abuse of children in their care, authorities said.
The charges were filed against owner Hazel Riggs and sons Phillip D. Schmidt, 24, and Michael A. Schmidt, about 22, following an investigation by the state attorney general’s office, said Deputy Attorney General Greg Smith.
Riggs and Phillip Schmidt were taken into custody in Akron Thursday and bond was set for Riggs at $10,000 and for Phillip Schmidt at $50,000, said Washington County Sheriff Steve Vosburg.
Riggs met bond, but Phillip Schmidt was being held and Michael Schmidt apparently was out of state and being sought, the sheriff said.
The 11 counts alleged sexual assaults on four different children by Phillip Schmidt and Michael Schmidt, and two counts against Riggs of being an accessory, Smith said.
The state investigation was conducted at Gov. Roy Romer’s request after District Attorney Doyle Johns in Washington County closed the case in July without filing charges.
The case began when seven children under Riggs’ care alleged they were raped and sodomized by groups of adults, authorities said.
The children, who all had been in therapy, told investigators they were sexually abused by masked adults during what some child-care officials believed may have been satanic rituals, The Denver Post reported in May.
One 4-year-old boy at that time described a ceremonial decapitation of a young boy he called Bobby, the newspaper said.
Two other children also described a playmate named Bobby, but Johns said those allegations were refuted, because no body ever was found and no Bobby ever was identified.
Johns’ year-long investigation ended July 26 when he ruled there was no evidence to support the children’s accounts. The center was closed when Riggs relinquished her license last year.
Parents and victims’ advocates said no credible investigation was done with some parents never being contacted and the home not being searched for 10 months after the allegations.
Public reaction prompted Romer to order Attorney General Duane Woodard to investigate. Smith said Thursday he couldn’t comment on that aspect of the case, except to say ″there was substantial additional evidence uncovered,″ during the state investigation.