'Disgusted': Parents react after Elgin day care teacher Frank Walaitis charged with sex abuse

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Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Parents react after ELgin day care teacher charged with sex abuse
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Parents who send children to THe Learning Tree day care center in ELgin react to a teacher being charged with sexual abuse.

ELGIN, Ill. (WLS) -- Police are trying to determine if there are more victims after a suburban day care worker was accused of sexually abusing two kids.

Frank Walaitis, 57, has been charged and has been fired from The Learning Tree.

Some parents ABC7 spoke with said they trust the people who work at the day care, while others said the allegations make them sick.

Meanwhile, police are calling this is an open and ongoing investigation.

Parents arrived Wednesday morning at The Learning Tree Elgin-West day care to drop off their children after learning a teacher who worked there for many years is being accused of sexually abusing two students.

Parent Yvonne Zaragoza said it's scary.

"This could happen anywhere, so I honestly guess this could happen, at schools it could happen with family so I honestly don't think that the day care should be held responsible for it ," Zaragoza said.

Walaitis, 57, of Carpentersville has been charged with six counts of felony aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

Prosecutors said some of the charges involve a 2008 case that has been re-opened.

One parent said he didn't know Walaitis, but trusts the teachers he does know at the daycare completely.

"Absolutely I have my own fears on what's happened but I've known these people for a long time because my elder one went to the same day care and I trust the people at least I know of," parent Sridhar Makina said.

Authorities said the alleged abuse occurred between 2008 and 2022.

"I was so disgusted," said one parent whose child goes to the center. "I was shaky."

ABC7 is not identifying this parent by her request, but her child was a student at The Learning Tree Elgin-West who was cared for by Walaitis in the four- and five-year-old classroom as recently as this summer. Her child is not one of the two alleged victims.

"Us sending our children to day care, you want to think that they're safe," she said.

Authorities said the alleged abuse happened at the day care center.

Prosecutors have not released any further details, but are concerned there could be more victims and officials said the investigation remains active. Prosecutors ask anyone with information about Walaitis to contact the Kane County Child Advocacy center, which is conducting the investigation with the help of Elgin police.

In a statement, the Learning Tree regional director said, "The safety and wellbeing of the children in our care is our highest priority. We are working closely with the authorities in this investigation. The employee had passed the State's required background check multiple times during his employment."

And added, "The employee was removed from the center as soon as the allegations were made, and his employment has been terminated."

The regional director also said that Walaitis had passed the required Illinois background check "multiple times during his employment." In a letter sent to parents Tuesday the day care said police "reopened a previously closed case from 2008" during this investigation, "in which no criminal charges were filed against" Walaitis.

The Learning Tree said he was cleared to return to work in 2008 by both police and DCFS.

A spokesperson for the Kane County State's Attorney's Office said some of the charges that have been filed involve that 2008 case that has now been reopened.

Walaitis remains in custody and is being held on $200,000 bond.

They said he has been fired and they are working closely with authorities.

Walaitis remains in custody at the Kane County Jail.

Bond has been set at $200,000. He is due back in court next week.