Day care worker denies force-feeding babies

This booking photograph released by the Manchester Police Department shows Chelsea Blais, arrested Tuesday, March 21, 2017, and charged with four counts of misdemeanor simple assault of infants she was tending in a daycare center in Manchester, N.H. (Manchester Police Department via AP)

(AP) – A former New Hampshire day care worker accused of forcibly feeding three infants and kicking a bouncy seat that had a baby on it pleaded not guilty on Wednesday, but police said she had acknowledged being frustrated with the babies and exclaiming, “Oh, my God, they’re driving me nuts.”

Chelsea Blais, of Hooksett, worked for the Alpha Bits Learning Center in nearby Manchester.

In a police affidavit, staffers said Blais, 32, force-fed several babies, keeping bottles in their mouths as they gagged and threw up. One staffer said she saw Blais kick a bouncy seat that had a baby who was “fussing.”

In the affidavit, Blais told police she was fired on March 4 for reportedly calling the babies names, force-feeding them and abusing them. She initially denied wrongdoing but then said she’d get annoyed with the babies and walk away on occasion. She told police she said something like, “Oh, my God, they’re driving me nuts,” when dealing with the babies.

Staffers at the center told police and center directors Blais called the babies “ugly,” ”dumb” and other names.

Blais denied ever kicking a bouncy seat. She said she fed “the fussy ones” longer.

She was charged with four counts of misdemeanor simple assault. She waived her arraignment, and a lawyer entered the not guilty plea on her behalf. Her trial is scheduled for April 28.

Blais hung up on a reporter’s phone call Wednesday. A message seeking comment was left with her lawyer.

The police arrested Blais on Tuesday after the state Child Care Licensing Unit investigated Alpha Bits. The unit’s report said the center directors said they wouldn’t have tolerated any kind of inappropriate care of the infants and have fired other staffers “for much less.”

The center said in a statement it learned of the allegations on March 2. It said it “took immediate corrective action” and met with the affected families to address their concerns.

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