Police charge two in Columbia Children’s Center case
Bill Williams is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media following a three-month investigation, state police Wed., Dec. 15, charged Nancy H. Smith, 71, of Claverack, the former director of the Columbia Children’s Center in Greenport, with failure to report child abuse, alleging that she failed to make the proper notifications as a mandated reporter. Smith was issued an appearance ticket for the Town of Greenport Court on December 27. Anna M. Bower, 63, of Livingston, was charged two days earlier with endangering the welfare of a child and was subsequently arrested, Trooper Aaron Hicks, public information officer for state police Troop K said. Bower was issued an appearance ticket for Greenport court on December 27 as well, Hicks said. Bower was an employee of the center. Police declined to provide details about the incident that led to the charges being filed. The investigation was opened September 9, into several reports of physical child abuse. Law enforcement visited the center to speak with parents, Hicks said, in an effort to identify current or former children who may have been victims. The investigation centered on an unidentified employee, now identified as Bower, who stopped reporting for work, after the investigation began, said Michael Howard, attorney for the Columbia Children’s Center. Smith was replaced as director a week after the investigation began. Catherine Burdick is now acting director, according to the Office of Children and Family Services, the state agency that licenses the facility. Since Sept. 17, the Columbia Children’s Center’s license has been listed as pending revocation by OCFS. The OCFS enforcement action will remain pending until a final decision is made by an administrative law judge, a court or until the enforcement action has been resolved. The daycare center has remained open since the investigation began. It has been licensed by the state since June 1991 when it moved into its current location. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.