Daycare Owners, Employee Arrested In Abuse Case

NEW BRAUNFELS, TEXAS — Three people affiliated with the Brilliant Starts Learning Academy in New Braunfels, including its owners, were arrested this week in connection with the alleged physical abuse last year of children there.

Randel Lee Norman and Patricia M. Norman, proprietors of the business at 2101 FM 1101, are each charged with five misdemeanor counts of failing to report child abuse/neglect, and one felony charge each of failing to report child abuse/neglect with intent to conceal, court records show.

Former employee Constance J. Digiovanni, who police say admitted to injuring children with forceful handling, faces 20 counts of child endangerment and one count each of injury to a child and failing to report child abuse/neglect with intent to conceal, according to court records.

Attempts to reach Digiovanni, 41, of New Braunfels, were unsuccessful. Comal County Jail records show she was released Tuesday under $47,500 bail. The Normans, both 57, also were released Tuesday, each under $5,000 bail.

New Braunfels police led the investigation into the alleged physical abuse by Digiovanni of five children at the daycare in December.

Digiovanni was earlier charged with injury to a child by New Braunfels police after a video from the daycare showed her forcefully putting a 3-year-old boy onto a mat at naptime Dec. 16, a police spokesman said. She was initially arrested on Feb. 18 and freed on $25,000 bail on Feb. 19, jail records show.

Calls to the Normans seeking comment were answered by Scot Courtney, a San Marcos attorney, who said the couple cooperated with the investigation. They have not been told the specifics of the accusation against them and their first priority is to make sure the children at their day care are “safely provided for,” he said.

“I think once all the facts are revealed, they’ll be exonerated,” Courtney said.

A woman who dropped off her 18-month-old son Wednesday morning at Brilliant Starts, who didn’t want to give her name, said the charges hadn’t shaken her confidence in the day care.

“The Normans are the nicest people,” she said. “They keep us updated. We knew everything about (the charges.)”