NAPERVILLE, Ill. — Parents in Naperville are outraged after a day care chose not to tell them about an employee’s grooming arrest back in June.
James Wood, 35, of Darien, was arrested on June 30 at the Bright Horizons Naperville location after being employed as a substitute teacher and camp counselor. He worked there for less than three weeks, Bright Horizons said.
Despite the arrest, the day care did not tell parents about it.
Wood allegedly had graphic conversations and exposed himself to someone who he believed to be a suburban girl around 14 or 15 years old. Instead, he was speaking with undercover detectives.
Police said Wood allegedly asked for nude photos and was planning to travel for a meet-up.
Arden Howell and his wife Laura pulled their children from the center after learning Wednesday that Wood was arrested. They said all the parents at the center were unaware of the arrest.
“The date was a slap in the face, a definite jaw-dropping moment for you,” Howell said. “When she said ‘what is going on with the date?’ It had been six weeks and no communications except the fact that he ‘left due to personal reasons.'”
Laura Howell said she remembers meeting him and that their children were there on the day he was arrested.
“(He was) very bombastic in personality,” she said.
Bright Horizons leadership met with parents Thursday and said their initial action was a mistake.
“We made a decision not to share this information with families as law enforcement was clear that the situation was not related to young children and not related to the center. In hindsight not sharing this information sooner was a grave mistake and we apologize,” they said in a statement.
Wood pleaded not guilty to three counts of grooming and his next court date is later this month.