Greenwood preschool let sex offender around kids, lawsuit says | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

GREENWOOD, Arkansas — A civil lawsuit filed on Dec. 12 accuses a preschool in Greenwood of knowingly allowing a convicted child predator around kids at the school, leading to long-term sexual abuse. 

Jamie Speaks, 54, who is one of the defendants in the case, is registered as a level two sex offender on the Arkansas Crime Information Center’s Sex Offender Registry database. 

According to the lawsuit, Jamie was charged with molesting a 7-year-old who was in the care of him and his wife, Wanda Speaks, at their at-home daycare in Hackett in 1993. 

After the incident, Wanda closed the daycare and was hired at Miss Tina’s around 1994, the document says. 

The suit alleges that Tina Skaggs, the preschool’s owner, knew of Jamie’s criminal history when she hired Wanda. 

The plaintiff, who is now 18 years old, accuses Miss Tina’s Preschool of negligence for hiring Wanda, allowing Jamie “to spend considerable time at the daycare with small girls” like herself, and a lack of supervision when Jamie was present. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff attended the school from around 2007 to 2011. 

The plaintiff claims in the lawsuit to have “endured years of unspeakable sexual abuse by Speaks, all of which occurred at Miss Tina’s Preschool,” from the age 3-years-old to 6-years-old.

She accuses Jamie Speaks of sexual battery for “wrongfully, intentionally, and by force made harmful physical sexual contact with [the] plaintiff, a small child,” the lawsuit says. 

Although Wanda recently stopped working at the preschool, the lawsuit says Jamie was allowed to be around the children “as recently as this year, when he attended the preschool graduation ceremony.” 

Shortly after the plaintiff left the school around 2011, Jamie pleaded guilty to sexual assault and sexual indecency with a child in June 2012. According to court records, the sexual assault violation happened in January 2005, and the sexual indecency violation occurred in October 2010. 

Following Jamie’s criminal conviction, he had to officially register as a sex offender. The lawsuit says the school still allowed Jamie to spend time with the children at the daycare. 

He was also charged with false imprisonment, aggravated assault, and domestic battery in 2018, but pleaded guilty to the aggravated assault charge only on February 6, 2019. In the arrest affidavit, officials said Jamie choked out one woman and head-butted another.

The lawyer representing the former student spoke to 5NEWS and said the purpose of suing Miss Tina’s and Jamie Speaks is to prevent similar things from happening across Arkansas. 

“The more people that know this happens, the more people that know how easily this can happen, the less likely it is to happen because parents will be more diligent. Organizations like Miss Tina’s are going to think twice before doing something like this when they hear about what’s happened to Miss Tina,” Joshua Gillispie said. 

Gillispie has been focusing on child sex abuse cases for 10 of the 14 years he has been practicing law. He said the 18-year-old’s case “was some of the more horrific sexual abuse that I’ve encountered in my career.” 

“We’re seeking retribution. We’re seeking public awareness … We want everyone to know what this man did to her. And we want everyone to know that he was only able to do it because Miss Tina’s has enabled him to be able to do it,” Gillespie said. 

5NEWS called the phone number listed on Google under Miss Tina’s Preschool in Greenwood, but the line was disconnected. However, according to the Arkansas Secretary of State’s business online search database, it was found that Miss Tina’s Preschool, Inc. was still active as a corporation, but with Preschool Extraordinaire listed as a name connected to the corporation, which is a preschool on Coker Street in Greenwood. Bundles of Joy Infant Center on Highway 71 is also listed under the corporation. 

Greenwood police confirmed they are investigating the accusations. 

5NEWS reached out to Skaggs, the owner of the daycare, and we haven’t heard back.

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