Attorney for daycare owner accused of sexual abuse: "No way in hell"

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A central Ohio day care operator accused of sexually abusing children faced a judge Friday.

Fifty-one-year-old Kimberly Hignite is charged with gross sexual imposition against three children, and 17 counts of child endangering.

Prosecutors say inside her Grove City home, Kimberly Hignite was operating an unlicensed day care center, where children were warehoused more than cared for.

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Police made the discovery in May when they went to the home with a search warrant.

"The defendant was not home," said Jennifer Rausch with the Franklin County Prosecutor's Office. "Her mother was taking care of the children. Her mother is 71, and she was using a walker. There were 23 children in the daycare, ranging from 7 months to 5 years old. Many of them were strapped into car seats, left unattended in separate bedrooms."

Thursday night a parent, who 10TV is not identifying to protect the anonymity of her child, shared her heartache over the allegations.

"I was just more like in shock, but now I'm just disgusted at what she did. And i feel like I failed as a parent."

Prosecutors say the allegations against Hignite first arose in April.

They say three children, - ages 3, 5, and 11, told consistent stories of sexual abuse.

"At least two of them disclosed something called the 'silly private game' but all three of them reported incidents of either having to touch the other children or touching the defendant or vice versa. All sort of sexual contact, different varieties," said Rausch.

Hignite's attorney adamantly denies the allegations.

"I just know my client hasn't laid a finger on any child. She's been in this business forever. So all of the sudden she turns into a predator? No way in hell," said Sam Shamansky.

Shamansky says he's known Hignite's family for years.

"The kind of lady that i'd let watch my grandchildren. All three of them," he said.

A judge ordered Hignite held on $50,000 bond, with the stipulation she have no unsupervised contact with children.

Hignite's family declined to comment.

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