Ex-Orlando preschool teacher accused of sexual abuse to remain in jail

By David Bodden and Erin Murray, Team Coverage
Last Updated: Thursday, February 15, 2018, 3:39 PM EST

The former teacher at an Orange County preschool who was charged with sexual abuse against a minor went before a judge Wednesday.

Jayrico Jayrice Hamilton is accused of sexually abusing children at Bright Horizons in Baldwin Park.

Hamilton, 25, is facing several charges, including sexual battery on a victim under 12, lewd or lascivious molestation, lewd or lascivious conduct and child abuse. In 2017, he was accused of abusing a 4-year-old boy.

On Wednesday, a judge decided to keep Hamilton in jail. He was also ordered to have no contact with the children or their families.

Lawyers representing two families say their young children were abused by Hamilton at the preschool.

One of the attorneys who has filed a civil suit against Bright Horizons on behalf of the children says the family is grateful to the police.

"The family is very thankful, particularly for the Orlando Police Department for all their hard work. But they are really focused on helping their son heal. And we think this is an important step in that healing process, and an important step for justice," Jeff Herman, of Herman Law, told Spectrum News 13.

A spokesperson for Bright Horizons provided the following statement:

"The well-being of the children in our care is our primary concern. We have fully supported the investigation of this case since it began and worked closely with the local agencies as they have reviewed the situation.

"We have also been communicating directly with our families throughout this situation. We were deeply troubled to learn of this new development, and we are committed to supporting our families in any way we can."

Herman says the alleged abuse happened during the 2016 --- 2017 school year.

Herman will be holding a news conference Wednesday afternoon with the parents of a victim to discuss the allegations and the lawsuit against the school.

Hamilton no longer works at the preschool and made his first appearance before a judge Wednesday morning.

Parents of victim speak

A day after Hamilton's arrest, the family of the child victim spoke in front of the school.

“This has been the worst thing that has ever happened to us, and we blame Bright Horizon’s and Jayrico Hamilton for it,” said the victim’s father.

The family asked to remain anonymous to further protect their child. Their child is now 5 years old and attended Bright Horizon’s in Baldwin Park last school year.

“We were lucky that our son was brave enough to say something and to use the right terms, and that is was very clear that something bad had happened,” said the parents.

An arrest affidavit explains how the young child told forensic investigators that Hamilton would open mouth kiss him and put his mouth on the child’s privates during nap time when other children were sleeping. 

“Our son was healthy and happy before coming here, and now he is a diminished child,” said the boy’s father.

The family has filed a civil lawsuit against Bright Horizons too. The feel the school failed to protect their child when a co-teacher of Hamilton’s reported suspicious behavior.

“The teacher complained that Jayrico was putting this boy on his lap, was laying next to this little boy at nap time, touching him in ways that made this teacher uncomfortable,” Herman said.

Herman added that even though these are tough cases to prosecute because of the child’s age, he feels there is strong evidence of wrong-doing.

“Kids this age don’t make these things up, they don’t come home one day and say, ‘Oh by the way dad, Mr. Jayrico put his mouth on my privates.’ It doesn’t happen,” said Herman.

The family had a warning to other parents out there, encouraging everyone to teach their kids the right words to use when something is wrong.

“He is very young, he is now 5. We have been taking him to therapy since we learned last summer. And we have just told him, ‘Man you are a brave kid. And you can always talk to your mother and father,” said the parents.