A day care worker charged with sexually assaulting a child told an Omaha police detective that he would put children on his lap because he wanted to become sexually aroused, according to court documents.
In a Thursday interview with the detective, 24-year-old Mark Mays said he had placed a naked 2-year-old girl on his lap, facing him, while working in January at Little Hands at Work and Play day care at 1714 N. 120th St. He said he had digitally penetrated the girl, according to an affidavit filed in Douglas County Court.
Two day care workers walked into a bathroom at the day care and saw the girl on Mays’ lap, court documents said. Mays was fired.
Mays told the detective that he had digitally penetrated another girl at the day care. When asked about other incidents from the past, he provided the names of six other girls, two of whom he said attended Little Hands and four who attended La Petite Academy at 10707 Birch St. when he worked there, according to court documents.
Mays said he had looked at pornography on his cellphone and home computer, as well as child pornography on his phone, court documents said. He agreed to give his phone to the detective and signed a form to allow a search of the home where he was living with his parents near 156th Street and West Dodge Road.
During the search, police found diapers and children’s underwear inside a desk drawer. A computer and computer accessories also were taken as evidence.
In a statement released Tuesday, Little Hands at Work said workers had reported the incident to the state and were cooperating with authorities. The company conducts background checks on all potential employees, the statement said.
“Parents with children at Little Hands may rest assured that their children are in a safe and loving environment and that we are committed to protecting the health and well-being of the children and families we serve,” the statement said.
A statement provided by La Petite Academy last week said Mays worked for the day care “for less than three months, ending in August last year.”
“We were made aware that he was arrested as a result of incidents reported at a different child care provider, ” La Petite’s statement continued. “We will cooperate with the authorities as needed to assist their investigation.”
In 2014, Mays worked for the Millard Public Schools Foundation as an assistant director in the child care program, which offers care for students in kindergarten through fifth grade before and after school.
An official with the foundation said Mays worked in the program from March to November 2014, but the official said he could not speak to why Mays left because it was a personnel matter.
Mays is charged with one count of first-degree sexual assault of a child. A Douglas County judge has set Mays’ bail at $2 million. He’ll have to pay 10 percent, or $200,000, to be released from the Douglas County Correctional Center.
About six years ago, Mays told the detective, he used his phone to photograph a girl’s underwear after she had taken it off to use the bathroom.
Mays’ mother, contacted by phone Tuesday afternoon, declined to comment.
Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said Mays had worked at several day care centers in Omaha, and authorities were looking into other sexual-assault allegations involving children at places where Mays worked. Kleine said he anticipates filing additional charges.
In court last Friday, Mays waived his right to a preliminary hearing, which means his case was automatically forwarded to district court for trial.