Lancaster County pastor and teacher sentenced for abuse and failure to report

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LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa.– A Lancaster County pastor and teacher were both recently sentenced in court for the treatment of a toddler at a church daycare.

Robert Smith, 45, a pastor, and Cynthia Ebersole, 63, a teacher, were sentenced to serve two years of probation and other conditions as part of the ARD program.

The incident occurred on November 16, 2015 at Grace Point Learning Academy. The daycare is at the Church of Nazarene in Clay Township.

A parent witnessed Ebersole abuse a 14-month-old boy while caring for a group of toddlers.  She was seen holding her hand over the child’s mouth as the child was fussing, according to police.

After the reported abuse reached Smith, who oversees all functions at the church, he relocated Ebersole’s teaching assignment but never reported the abuse to authorities.

Smith, as a pastor and employee of the daycare, is required under state law to report all the incidents of suspected child abuse to Pennsylvania ChildLine or Police.

In court Monday, Smith said that he should’ve reported to the incident He was charged with a misdemeanor count of failure to report. He is now required to re-take mandatory-reporter training and perform 90 hours of community service.

Ebersole, in addition to her probation, must take anger-management classes and perform 60 hours of community service. She was also charged with misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a child.


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