NORRISTOWN, Pa. (WTXF) - Prosecutors say they have charged a teacher with sexually abusing a 3-year-old girl.
The arrest of 32-year-old teacher Michael Barbee had parents outraged Wednesday evening as they came to pick up their children at the Early Learning Center at Saint Francis of Assisi Church.
A woman, whose identity we're withholding, worked at the Early Learning Center. She says she complained to center officials about staffing and supervision.
“If our calls and our concerns were taken serious, this probably could have been prevented,” she said.
Police arrested Barbee Saturday on 16 charges, including indecent assault and unlawful contact. Investigators say he sexually assaulted a 3-year-old girl during naptime in a classroom after she called him stupid.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia called the charges serious and disturbing. Church officials are cooperating with authorities. They say there were no prior indications Barbee was involved in similar activity and he passed all background checks before being hired.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia released the following statement reading in part:
"These charges are serious and disturbing. The Archdiocese is cooperating fully with law enforcement regarding this matter and remains fervently committed to preventing child abuse as well as protecting the children and young people entrusted to its care.
There were no prior indications that Mr. Barbee was involved in activity of this nature. Prior to beginning his term of employment with Saint Francis of Assisi Parish, appropriate criminal background checks as well as child abuse clearances had been obtained and he completed mandatory Safe Environment Training programs."