Couple lashing out at school after unfounded abuse report - KCTV5

Couple lashing out at school after unfounded abuse report

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A local couple is lashing out at a Gardner school over a sexual abuse allegation. At issue is whether the staff of the school is properly trained to spot the difference between abuse and something the couple says is quite typical in their daughter's atypical world.

Monique and Santiago Morales' little girl is 9 years old and full of energy. But because of a medical condition doctors have yet to figure out, she sometimes wears a diaper and last Thursday morning she woke up with a mess.

"She had a foul diaper and because it had sat in there, her skin was inflamed; certain areas of her tush were very red and swollen," Monique Morales said.

Later that day, Monique Morales got a call from her daughter's school, Nike Elementary.

"I tried informing the nurse of what it was. She insisted I take her to the doctor. I agreed, I had no problem," she said.

But instead of seeing her child, she said, she saw police. 

"They had told me that they were investigating allegations of child sexual abuse and I absolutely lost it," Monique Morales said.

"I was floored. I was like, 'are you kidding me? Are you really saying that I am molesting my daughter? Is that what this is all about?'" Santiago Morales said. "They were threatening to take my daughter away from us and put her in protective custody."

Detectives told them their little girl was on the way to Shawnee Mission Medical Center to get an exam.

Monique Morales said the exam was brief.

"They ruled it as nothing more than a diaper rash, which is exactly what we told them. They didn't even proceed with a rape kit because they knew immediately upon visual examining that that's what it was. In fact the forensics doctor said, 'I don't know why you're here,'" she said.

The school declined comment, citing student confidentiality, and would say only that they were following mandatory reporting laws.

The Kansas Department of Children and Families told KCTV5 "It behooves them to err on the side of caution, for the good of the child and to ensure they have fulfilled their responsibilities under state law. DCF urges everyone to report if they have suspicions and let us investigate and sort it out."

The Morales' said they get that, but still have concerns with how the situation was treated.

"The school needs to better educate their teachers and their medical staff so that they know more about what a diaper rash looks like," Santiago Morales said. "They accused without having the proper knowledge or understanding of what was going with her."

They are now demanding changes in the daily logs provided about their daughter's day, logs which currently offer feedback on emotions and potty breaks.

"I want an account of who was with her. I want signed signatures. I want to know who was changing her diaper or her underwear. I want to know what they saw when they changed it. I want massive documentation of every single aspect," Monique Morales said.

The Johnson County Sheriff's Office would not release details, but told KCTV5 the investigation is over and no crime was committed.

The parents also took issue with the financial impact of the whole incident. The bill for the exam ordered by investigators was placed on their insurance.

After KCTV5 got involved, the hospital agreed to cover the cost of the couple's co-pay. KCTV5 asked one week ago what the typical payment policy was for police-ordered tests, but the hospital has yet to answer.

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