Nursery worker cleared of tying child to chair

Nursery worker Sam Wilson. Picture: contributed
Nursery worker Sam Wilson. Picture: contributed
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A NURSERY worker in the Capital has been cleared of allegations she tied a toddler to a chair and threatened to “batter him” while he was in her care.

The case against Samantha Wilson was dismissed following a conduct hearing at the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC).

The witness stated she did not actually see the registrant, or anyone else, tie [the boy] to the chair”

She was accused of tying up the one-year-old boy on a number of occasions between August and October 2012 while employed as a trainee at Bruntsfield House Nursery in Edinburgh.

In September of that year, she was said to have told the boy she would “batter him” if he did not “sit down” before tying him to a chair with a scarf.

She was also accused of 
carrying out the same act twice the following month, tying the toddler down with a dressing-up costume tie on the fourth 
occasion in order to “force-feed” him.

After the charges came to light, Ms Wilson was suspended and, in April 2013, resigned from her post at the nursery.

But after their hearing in January, members of the SSSC conduct sub-committee said they had found major weaknesses in evidence provided to support the charges, which were all denied by Ms Wilson.

And they said they found Ms Wilson to be “consistent and clear” when questioned over the allegations.

In their decision report, they said: “Several of the witnesses who gave evidence spoke to not having any other concerns about the registrant’s practice.

“The registrant was accordingly found not to have committed misconduct. The case against her was dismissed.”

SSSC staff said they had questioned a number of Ms Wilson’s co-workers in connection with the main charges brought against her.

Major gaps and contradictions emerged in the evidence provided, they said, with witnesses unable to remember and confirm key events.

On the issue of whether Ms Wilson threatened to “batter” the toddler if he did not sit down, SSSC investigators said oral evidence provided in support of the allegation lacked credibility and reliability, and was directly contradicted by other witnesses.

Concerns were also expressed over the account given by one of Ms Wilson’s colleagues to substantiate the charge that she tied the toddler down in order to force-feed him.

“When it came to her oral testimony, however, the witness stated that she did not actually see the registrant, or anyone else, tie [the boy] to the chair, although it looked like he had been tied by someone and she thought it must have been the registrant,” SSSC panel members said in their report.

“Overall the sub-committee did not find the witness’s evidence on the crucial facts reliable.”

Current managers at Bruntsfield House Nursery previously said the incidents were alleged to have taken place long before it was acquired by Little Voices Nurseries Ltd in May last year.

They told the News that legal advisers had made them aware of the charges against Ms Wilson, adding that a full overhaul of policies and staff training was carried out over 2014.

Ms Wilson could not be reached for comment.