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Home Daycare Closed Amid Child Abuse Allegations

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Bud Gillett
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MCKINNEY (CBSDFW.COM) - A McKinney neighborhood is stunned by accusations that a 70-year-old grandmother who is also a day care worker was charged with indecency with a child in her care.

Charlotte Semrau bonded out of the Collin County Jail after posting a $100,000 bond.

She worked at an in-home day care operation in the 3700 block of Alex Court. It doesn’t have a specific name, only the address for state licensing. But police warrants accuse Semrau of showing a pornographic video inside the home, stimulating herself in the child’s presence, and urging the 5-year-old to rub herself through her own clothes.

“I’m shocked and sick to my stomach,” said Crystal Cope, who lives just two doors away. She’s stunned that a woman she thought she knew is accused of a sex crime with a child. “Because Charlotte’s been a good friend and a good neighbor and our kids have done things with her grandkids and gone places and had fun times together, so it’s shocking.”

Arrest warrants indicate the episodes may have gone on for months before the 5-year-old’s parents caught on. The home day care is licensed for up to ten pre-schoolers, and records show no prior corrective actions. Semrau has no criminal record and would had to have passed a background check to work at the day care, which is run by her daughter-in-law. State licensing investigators have opened their own case, according to Marissa Gonzales of Child Protective Services. “They have asked them to stop operating and there are no children being cared for at that location at this time.” The state investigation could take up to 30-days.

Gonzales urges parents to check into the backgrounds of any day care they might want to use, and says ones registered and licensed with the state tend to be more safe. Their records are available online for parents to review, she says. “It will show you the number of inspections they’ve had recently, it’ll show you any violations that popped up on those inspections. And it will show you when those were corrected.”

Gonzales adds, there’s no substitute for a parent personally inspecting a proposed provider. “Go out and visit the operation, to get a sense of whether or not they’re doing all of the things that the parent wants them to do.”

The public can look into the background of licensed day care operations on the internet here.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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