Friday, November 12, 1999

Low cost kept unlicensed day care busy

Dozen children at home where abuse alleged

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FAIRFIELD TWP. — An unlicensed day care operation in the 3800 block of Hamilton-Middletown Road, where a child reported being molested last week, drew clients for a good reason: It was cheap, police said.

        “Typically speaking, you'd be hard-pressed to find a day care that will cost you $50 a week. There, it cost $7 a day. That's $35 a week,” said Fairfield Township Police Capt. Alan Laney.

        Authorities allege about a dozen children were being watched in the home of Norbert L. Rodefeld, 55, and that he inappropriately touched a 3-year-old girl there last week.

        Charged with a count of gross sexual imposition, Mr. Rodefeld on Wednesday was released from the Butler County Jail after posting $10,000 bond. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Wednesday in county Area II Court.

        Mr. Rodefeld's previous criminal record appears to consist solely of two public indecency convictions in Hamilton, Capt. Laney said. Both were more than 20 years ago.

        Meanwhile, authorities were trying to investigate whether any other children might have been victimized, while also trying to avoid creating hysteria, said Kacy Eaves, an assistant county prosecutor who serves on the county's Child Assault Task Force. That organization includes police, prosecutors, psychologists and victims' services professionals who are specially trained to handle child assault cases.

        Ms. Eaves credited Capt. Laney, saying, “It was excellent police work and interview skills and persistence. ... He broke the case.”

        Police said Mr. Rodefeld's wife, Jackie, ran the unlicensed day care operation, which is under scrutiny by local and state child welfare agencies.

        When asked to respond to police allegations, a woman who answered the telephone at the Rodefeld residence Thursday replied, “It's not true. That's all.” Then she hung up without giving her name.

        Authorities say anyone who watches more than six chil dren at once — or more than three children under age 2 — must obtain a child care license.

        However, Capt. Laney said he wasn't sure what penalties violators could face.

        Sheila Mayer, a licensing supervisor for the Ohio Department of Human Services' Day Care Licensing Section, is investigating, Capt. Laney said.

        She couldn't be reached for comment Thursday.


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