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Durango nanny convicted of child abuse

Woman operating unlicensed day care faces one year in jail
Pastor

A Durango nanny was found guilty of child abuse causing injury for force-feeding a 17-month-old boy, causing him to vomit.

The incident occurred Feb. 28 in Durango, where Carmen Cecilia Pastor, 41, operated an unlicensed daycare business at her home.

According to an arrest affidavit, the mother picked up her child to find the boy covered in vomit. He also had visible bruises on his cheeks.

The mother questioned Pastor about the vomit and bruising, and Pastor said the child “threw a fit and did not eat his lunch,” according to the affidavit. Pastor explained she had to force-feed the child a grilled cheese sandwich and the child threw up “in protest,” the affidavit says.

The mother filed a report with child protective services and made an appointment at Pediatric Partners for the next day.

A doctor found oral trauma, including a torn lip frenulum, which is a flap of skin between the upper lip and gum in the middle of the lip, according to the affidavit.

The doctor also observed three or four circular fingertip-sized bruises on the child’s right cheek, and a thumb-sized bruise on his right cheek. The pediatrician said the injuries were consistent with being force-fed.

The doctor was advised Pastor has a “kids must clean their plate policy,” the affidavit said.

Attempts to reach Pastor for comment were unsuccessful.

Pastor told police the child was not eating and vomited when she laid him down for his nap. She said she was feeding him a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with mixed vegetables, but he spit out the last bite because he was full or done. She said she takes care of three or four children.

The case was investigated by the Durango Police Department. The 6th Judicial District Attorney’s Office charged Pastor with child abuse causing injury, a misdemeanor, and a jury convicted her of the crime last week after a 1 1/2-day trial in La Plata County Court.

The case was prosecuted by deputy district attorneys Felicia Charles and David Kolbe. Public defenders Ryan Day and Scott VanZandt defended the case.

“The District Attorney’s Office takes child abuse cases extremely seriously, especially for our youngest and most vulnerable children,” District Attorney Christian Champagne said in an email to The Durango Herald. “Our children deserve to be safe, and we are doing everything we can to make sure people who harm children are never able to do it again in the future.”

The public defenders office did not immediately return a phone call Wednesday seeking comment.

Pastor faces up to 364 days in jail and could be placed on probation for up to five years. Sentencing is set for Nov. 17.

shane@durangoherald.com

An earlier version of this story erred in saying Carmen Cecilia Pastor could face up to one year in prison. She faces jail time, not prison.