Pierce County prosecutors on Wednesday charged an assistant teacher at a Gig Harbor child care center with sexually abusing a 5-year-old student.
Parker Trotter, 26, pleaded not guilty to four counts of first-degree child rape and was ordered jailed in lieu of $150,000 bail.
The investigation is ongoing, and more charges could be added later, prosecutors said.
Superior Court Commissioner Meagan Foley ordered Trotter to have no contact with children, employees at the day care center or his mother, who runs the facility.
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Trotter was placed on administrative leave at Little Steps Christian Learning Center after his arrest Friday. He has worked there since September.
His mother, Barb Richards, is director of the child care center and was placed on administrative leave. She has not been charged with a crime.
The victim’s parents reported the sexual abuse Feb. 1 after the girl told them about it.
She said it happened regularly over several months at nap time when the teacher went to lunch and Trotter was left alone to supervise the children.
Trotter acknowledged he was left alone with the kids at nap time but denied inappropriately touching the girl.
“He said when the children take their naps, he sometimes will pat a child on the back to help the child fall asleep,” according to charging papers. “He said he sometimes gives the children hugs.”
Little Steps officials told parents at a meeting Monday that they are installing closed-circuit cameras and putting more staff members in classrooms.
The nonprofit learning center at 3008 36th St. NW has 45 children in its facilities, according to its website.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653