Child Abuse Verdict


A former day care worker accused of child abuse has been found guilty again. A jury took seven hours to convict Valeka Bryant in her original trial.

Wednesday in her retrial, it took just an hour and half. Valeka Bryant was led away in handcuffs after a jury found her guilty of abusing three children at the Color Me Kids Day Care Center.

"My reaction was relief. This closes a chapter in me and my family's life, and I'm so glad I can still go home and hug and kiss my child, because it was possible I would never have seen him again after that day," says Lynn Walton, a parent.

Parents hugged and cried in the courthouse hall after the trial was over. They say they've been on a roller coaster ride for four years, as Bryant was convicted, cleared on appeal and then tried again.

"It's wonderful, it's been four long years and I'm so glad justice was done today," says Rebecca Mauck, a parent.

The state's only evidence in the case was a surveillance tape, prosecutors contend the tape clearly showed Bryant trying to smother a little boy with asthma, slapping a little girl with a plastic toy and hitting another boy in the head as he stood on the changing table.

Bryant's lawyer tried to convince the jury that the edited time-lapse video wasn't an accurate representation of what happened, but the jury didn't buy that.

"We're disappointed. Reasonable people can disagree on the outcome of a trial which is the case here, we're disappointed," says John Leace, Valeka Bryant’s attorney.

While Bryant's family avoided our cameras after the verdict, the day care center's former owner, who lost her business as a result of the case, was anxious to talk.

"I'm so happy, I saw her handcuffed and taken away, she's going where she belongs," says Robin Barber, owner of Color Me Kids.

The judge revoked Bryant's bond Wednesday morning, meaning she'll have to wait in jail until she's sentenced on July 16. She faces up to 15 years in prison.

Co-worker Debra Jefferson, who was also convicted of child abuse at Color Me Kids, is already serving a nearly six-year prison sentence.