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Daycare worker charged after child's leg fractured

Mallory A.C. Guerrero
Mallory A.C. Guerrero

Editor’s note: In order to keep the child’s identity confidential, Sauk Valley Media has declined to use the initials provided in the probable cause affidavit. The use of the pronoun “he” is for grammatical purposes only; the sex and age of the child were not provided.

DIXON – A 23-year-old former daycare worker who was caught on surveillance video lifting a child off the ground by the wrist is facing a felony reckless conduct charge after the child’s leg apparently broke upon landing.

Mallory A.C. Guerrero of Dixon was arrested Thursday afternoon and is free on a $10,000 recognizance bond.

Felony reckless conduct carries 1 to 4 years in prison. She also is charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct. Her preliminary hearing is Wednesday.

According to the probable cause affidavit, which is a court document filed by police explaining the basis for the arrest and charges:

Jennifer Magnafici, executive director of Bright Beginnings Christian Daycare and Preschool, 103 Franklin Grove Road, called police shortly after 9 a.m. Thursday to report the injury, which happened around 3:30 p.m. the day before.

Magnafici said Guerrero told her the child was running around the room, fell and hurt his leg to the extent that he could not bear weight on it. The child’s father was called and took him home.

When she returned to work Thursday morning, Magnafici had a email from the mother that said the child was taken to KSB Hospital Wednesday night and diagnosed with “a nondisplaced fracture” of his left femur.

Because of the child’s age and the nature of the injury, he was taken to Javon Bae Hospital in Rockford. According to the email, surgery might be needed.

Upon reading the email, Magnafici reviewed surveillance video that showed the child running around the room with other children “with no issues,” around 3:20 p.m.

“At one point, Guerrero is seen grabbing [the child’s] wrist and briefly lifting the child off the floor while making a swift swinging motion to move [the child],” the affidavit said. “[The child’s] left foot appears to land on the floor first, then the right, with the child’s momentum continuing to carry them to the right.

“The child’s left leg buckles to the left and the child collapsed to the floor” and began to cry, the affidavit said.

Guerrero straightened the leg out and tried to stand the child up, but the child appeared not to be able to bear any weight on the leg, and continued to cry. His leg gave out several more times when she picked him up to stand.

After viewing the video, Magnafici immediately called Guerrero to her office and fired her, then called police, the affidavit said.

Guerrero was arrested shortly after 2 p.m. at her home.

In the wake of the incident, “I have assured all families and staff involved that all policies and procedures have been followed to ensure the safety of all children,” Magnafici said this morning.

Dixon police Lt. Brad Sibley praised Bright Beginnings staff for their handling of the incident.

“I would just like to convey how pleased the department was with the quick action displayed by Bright Beginnings, specifically Director Magnafici, to ensure the safety of all of the children in their care,” Sibley said.

“I spoke to her directly earlier today and she said the most important thing is the care of the children in their charge, and she was clearly still upset about the entire incident.

“Many times people seem more concerned with potential liability and community optics when at the end of the day all of our jobs is to protect those that can’t protect themselves, and in this case it seems that Bright Beginnings did everything they could, and we appreciate their transparency.”

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