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Woman Admits Running an Unlicensed Daycare in Virginia Beach Where Child Died

I pride myself in helping clients through their toughest times.- Bill O’Mara

Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

Woman Admits Running an Unlicensed Daycare in Virginia Beach Where Child Died

When parents place their children at a daycare, they expect a high standard of care. Sadly, not all daycares are well run or even licensed. Recently, a woman admitted running an unlicensed daycare in Virginia Beach that was the scene of the death of a child.

A sentencing hearing was scheduled this week for Marlene Rice, a woman who was charged after the death of a 4-month-old girl.

Police were called to the home of Rice in 2016. When they arrived at the unlicensed daycare in Virginia Beach they found 17 children who were unsupervised in the backyard, reported WAVY.com. Many of them were in a backyard pool.

A report on WAVY.com noted Marlene Rice called for help on Aug. 15. She discovered a baby in her care was not breathing. Rice and medics performed CPR with no luck. The 4-month-old died at Rice’s home.

She was indicted by a grand jury on charges of not having a license.

The 49-year-old woman admitted 11 total counts of operating an unlicensed daycare, stated the Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. She could be facing up to 12 months for each charge.

Rice was initially charged with child abuse and neglect. WAVY reported the Commonwealth dropped the charges due to insufficient evidence. The child’s death may have been down to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

WAVY reported the comments of prosecutors who said Rice was investigated by social services in 2005. She was told she needed a license. Her attorney disputed the claim.

Virginia has many unlicensed daycares. Children are likely to be at greatest risk at these facilities.

A 2014 report by the Richmond Times-Dispatch following the tragic death of a Midlothian toddler in a home daycare fire, highlighted a state trend.

Children being watched at unlicensed facilities in Virginia are five times more likely to lose their lives due to neglect, physical abuse or even sudden unexplained infant death than children in state-regulated homes, the report noted.

At least 51 children lost their lives in unregulated daycare facilities over the 10 years up to 2014, compared with just nine in daycare operations licensed and regulated by the Virginia Department of Social Services. The data was obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and analyzed by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

At Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers, our experienced premises liability team has sued a wide range of businesses that have put visitors, clients or children in harm’s way. Call us at (757) 455-0077.

Bill O'Mara

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John Cooper

John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.

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Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.

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Bill O’mara

Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.

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