Man charged with sex assault at daycare


HALIFAX – A Halifax daycare provider says it is trying to reassure parents after one of its employees was charged with sexually assaulting a young child on the job.

Police say they were told on the evening of Aug. 22 that a man working at the Kids and Company daycare on Barrington Street touched one of the children in a sexual manner earlier that day.

The man was suspended the same day.

Mitchell Casavechia, 20, of Cole Harbour turned himself in to police headquarters last Thursday and is now facing charges of sexual assault and sexual interference.

“We’re doing everything we can to the best of our ability to reassure parents, but as you can appreciate this is a tough situation for sure,” said Dorothy Morphy, area director for the Kids and Company chain.

She said Casavechia had been working with Kids and Company for less than four months, and she said the company had completed all the mandated checks.

“Everything that we’re supposed to do — reference checks, child abuse registry, everything — was done,” she said.

Halifax police spokesman Cindy Bayers said investigators do not anticipate more charges.

Police were not releasing the child’s age or gender.

Bayers said sexual assault investigations are “quite complex,” and explore many avenues, but police informed the public about the probe as soon as it was appropriate.

“We did take the step where we named the daycare and the particular address. We do try to provide the public with as much details as we can,” Bayers said.

The company said it is working with police and child services.

“The moment we were alerted to the allegation, the teacher was suspended from all duties and all authorities were notified,” Michael Gillings, a spokesman for the daycare chain, said in a statement.

In an email, Gillings said all employees must undergo a thorough screening, including a criminal record check with a vulnerable sector screening and a child abuse registry screening.

“No one is hired unless all clearances come back clear,” he said, adding that the company will follow any and all recommendations provided by Child Welfare as the investigation unfolds.

Gillings said the daycare has about 20 employees and 80 children, and that it follows or exceeds the required child-to-teacher ratios.

He said that the company’s daycare centres have web cameras in all classrooms and outdoor spaces.

Gillings said no children have been pulled from the daycare following the incident.

Casavechia was released on numerous conditions, including not going to any daycare, playground or school, and to not be around youth under 16 except when in the company of their parent.

He is expected to appear in court on Oct. 26.