COVINGTON — Court documents paint a disturbing picture of what prosecutors allege happened to two little girls inside the El Carrusel Family Childcare in Covington.
The suspect, Jose Luis Pena-Maldenado, 40, along with his wife have run the El Carrusel day care for more than a decade.
“My mom, my brothers, this whole family, we always hear stuff on the news like this, never think it`s going to happen to us, obviously, and strong believers that pedophiles need to just be in jail for life,” Pena-Maldenado’s stepson Victor Ramos said.
Pena-Maldenado faces three counts of first-degree child molestation.
He allegedly admitted to touching the girls, now age 4 and 7, for more than a year and a half, beginning in January 2012.
Investigators say one of the girls told them Pena-Maldenado touched her at nap-time and made her look at pornographic magazines and told her not to tell anyone.
Naomi Bargemeyer sent her kids to her neighbor’s day care and she still can’t believe the allegations.
“They always have children running in and out. They have a large family. They’re always doing lots of activities with their family, very family-oriented, so I’m just stunned, honestly. There was no indication,” Bargmeyer said.
Max Brood lives right across the street, is close to the family, even attended Pena-Maldenado’s wedding.
The allegations, he says, are hard to believe.
“Oh, I’m totally shocked, but you never know, you never know, and I feel sorry for the girls, whoever he molested, if he did. If he did,” Brood said.
For now, the day care is shut down.
Pena-Maldenado’s family is asking for forgiveness.
“We’re sorry that we didn’t know, I mean, God, I hope those kids are going to be all right. I mean, we’re truly sorry. If we knew, he would have been in jail earlier,” Ramos said of his stepfather.