Mom cleared in child abuse investigation; “bruises” are birth marks

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WESTMINSTER, Colo. -- A Colorado mother is angry because daycare workers suspected her child was being abused after they found what was later identified as a birth mark.

She claims the little girl ended up getting strip-searched, and the mother felt embarrassed about being falsely accused of such a thing.

"I was asked about my parenting, how I discipline my daughter," said Laura Morales in an exclusive interview with FOX31 Denver. Records obtained by KDVR confirm investigators with Westminster Police questioned Morales about her child's health after workers found marks on the child's back.

Those marks would later be determined to be a birth mark known as Mongolian Spots. It's a skin condition, found often in young children, that can result in dark pigmented areas on a child's buttocks.

"For my integrity as a parent to be challenged and to walk into a place where I trust my child is safe and be accused of something like that." Morales continued describing the upsetting situation.

The daycare center, La Petite Academy, would not disclose specifics about the case or the circumstances that led the worker to inform police.

However the company released a statement about the matter on Thursday:
"The safety and well being of our children is our top priority. As a childcare provider, we are required by the state to report any suspected abuse or neglect to Child Protective Services. We take our responsibility as caregivers very seriously. We don’t discuss specifics regarding the children in our care with third parties." said a spokesperson.

Morales declined to bring her three-year-old daughter back to the daycare, even though the company said she's welcome to return.

"If your child does have a birth mark, notate that, have documentation, and make sure they are aware...so they don't have something like this happen again." Morales added.

The Westminster Police Department confirmed officers interviewed the Morales family about the incident but stressed Tuesday's investigation is considered normal and that officers followed standard procedures.

"We work to make sure that the child is not being traumatized, we're trying to make sure they're being well cared for and not being abused." said Trevor Materasso, an investigator with Westminster Police.

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