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NEWS STORIES

Crandon day care case highlights importance of vetting child care providersSubmitted: 09/19/2013
Story By Lex Gray

RHINELANDER - We learned Wednesday about a Crandon man accused of sexually assaulting children at a home day care.

William "B.J." Anderson is in jail on $50,000 bond. He faces up to 134 years in prison if convicted of the six felonies he faces.

His mother, Nancy Anderson, ran a daycare out of her home in Crandon. But Nancy's day care wasn't licensed or regulated. She left the kids with BJ while she ran errands. His bedroom doubled as a playroom, and kids slept there.

Licensed day care directors say those kinds of things wouldn't be allowed at a regulated day care, whether it's at home or at a center.

"You can't just trust everybody," says Tricia Pugh. Pugh started working with kids twelve years ago. Now, she runs a licensed, regulated group daycare center. That means employees go through training and get regular background checks.

"I was appalled that this lady was leaving kids with someone, and no one knew," Pugh says. "That can't happen in a regulated childcare facility."

But what if you just can't afford professional day care? What if your only affordable option is a more casual arrangement with friends or neighbors? Pugh had to make alternative arrangements for her own daughter but she knew she could trust her mother.

"I think it's a wonderful thing, and it's nice if it can be with family and friends," she says. "If you don't have that option, and you're just looking at picking somebody out of the phonebook, I think you should go regulated so you know what's happening."

That might cost a little more. But there's help available from the state.

"I think people are afraid to accept the help there is, and if it's for your children, you should always take any extra help you can get so they can have the best chance," Pugh says.

Whether you choose a regulated center or not, Pugh wants parents to do their own digging.

"I think every parent should always, always, always stop in unannounced, wherever their children are, whether it's a licensed daycare facility or if it's at-home or a babysitter," she says. "You do not know what's happening if you're not actively involved with what's going on with your children."

Pugh believes it's important to listen for clues from your children.

"If they're under five, it's very rare for a child to lie. If they're telling you something, you need to take the time to understand what they're saying, and then it's a red flag."

You don't have to wait for your kids to put up the red flag.

"People forget to go with their gut," Pugh says. "If you walk into a place and it makes you feel icky, don't stay there. Get out."

Anderson is due in court October 9th.

Related Weblinks:
Department of Children

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30-year-old Derek Stempa of Shawano had been flagging traffic.

68-year-old Dennis St. John of Hurley was driving the minivan when he struck Stempa.

The Shawano County Highway Department had been doing road work in the area.

That's on Highway 47 near the Menominee Indian Reservation.

The Wisconsin State Patrol is in charge of the investigation.

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Brittany Haakenson, an art teacher at Rhinelander High School, has been very involved with the initiative and the planning for Wednesday's assembly. She was excited for the work the initiative has been able to accomplish and for the grand prize; a new car. "It's totally random and whoever gets that special key, there is going to be six keys that won't open the car, but there will be that one winner," said Haakenson.

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