Former daycare owner Nicole D’Anjou Delage is accused of mistreating an eight-month-old baby and causing injuries similar to those of a multi-storey fall. The abruptness of the sexagenarian was known to CPE Les Petits Mulots Charlesbourg for at least five years.
Judge Marie-Claude Gilbert of the Court of Quebec has not yet decided the innocence or guilt of the 69-year-old woman, whose trial she hears. Nicole D’Anjou Delage is charged with aggravated assault, assault causing bodily harm and criminal negligence causing bodily harm to a very young eight-month-old girl who recently arrived with her mother from Burkina Faso. The alleged crimes allegedly occurred between December 2 and December 16, 2014 in the family day care center of 1 st Avenue in Charlesbourg, recognized by the Department of Family and affiliated with CPE Les Petits Mulots.
Judge Gilbert, however, on Monday allowed the prosecution to adduce evidence that the lawyers call “unbecoming conduct” and “similar facts” that show the nurse’s abruptness with other children under her care.
“Like a rag doll”
In 2009, compliance officer Isabelle Rochette, who was in charge of making unannounced visits to family day care centers, saw the accused suddenly take a child of three or four years old. She told the court that she feared that Nicole D’Anjou Delage would break the boy’s neck.
On March 23, 2010, the same compliance officer was back in the daycare. She says she saw Nicole D’Anjou Delage intervene with a four-year-old boy who resisted him. The guard would have grabbed the boy by both arms, above the elbows, and would have used a force that could have hurt even an adult.
In March 2012, another compliance officer, Isabelle Rioux, noted that the accused controlled the children by catching them by the wrists.
During another visit, on January 11, 2013, Isabelle Rioux notes that Nicole D’Anjou Delage’s gestures towards children are “quick and rigid”, “as if she were angry”. The babysitter is reluctant to show her game room to the Compliance Officer. Isabelle Rioux sees the caretaker seize a baby by the forearm, “like a rag doll” before installing it on her hip. She will do the same ride with another baby.
The compliance officer will explain how to take a baby gently. Isabelle Rioux explains that she is worried about the safety of children. The accused, irritated, retorts that she “is not going to hang the children in the walls” and “they are not made of paper mache”.
Upset, the Compliance Officer prepares a report and a ticket to be presented to the CPE’s Board of Directors. The latter decided not to act, according to the testimony of Joanne Michaud, Deputy Director at the Office of Coordination.
Isabelle Rioux later made a complaint to the Directorate of Youth Protection, but she was told that it was out of time.
Traumatic brain injury
The small complainant began attending Nicole D’Anjou Delage daycare on December 2, 2014. From day one, the mother notices that her eight-month-old daughter seems to be in pain when she touches her wrists.
Ten days after entering the daycare, Nicole D’Anjou Delage calls the mother saying she can not wake up her daughter. She even had to give him artificial respiration, said the babysitter. The child stays at home for a few days.
On December 16, 2014, the mother recovers her stiff and trembling child from Nicole D’Anjou Delage. Unconscious, the child is hospitalized at the CHUL for four days. Doctors note healing fractures on both wrists and head trauma.
In the eyes of Dr. Sylvia Béliveau, pediatrician, “the brain and eye injuries were caused by a trauma the magnitude or strength of which would be comparable to a car accident or a fall of several floors”.
On December 18, 2014, the police went to Nicole D’Anjou Delage with the DPJ and people from the CPE to close the daycare.
To a mother who comes to pick up her child, the babysitter launches “it’s the black baby’s fault if the daycare closes!” She adds that “every time she took blacks, she had misery” and swears “She will not take blacks any more.”
On January 19, 2015, Nicole D’Anjou Delage refused the invitation to meet the investigators. She announces that she will have witnesses who will come to say that the baby was in bad shape before reaching his daycare. She adds, “They are all like that, the blacks, they tell lies.”
The trial of Nicole D’Anjou Delage continues Tuesday with the beginning of his defense.