Lawyer: More parents come forward alleging child abuse at Santa Clara school, child care

A flyer with the name and picture of Analee Talbot and other information was posted on a park bench in Santa Clara, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy the Moms Helping Moms Saint George Utah Facebook page, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A growing number of parents whose children attended a Santa Clara Montessori school are looking to join a prospective lawsuit alleging that the owner abused some students.

Meanwhile, flyers were posted around Santa Clara Friday targeting Analee Talbot, owner of Red Canyon Montessori, previously known as Desert Edge Montessori. The flyer had a photo of Talbot, telling people to “beware” of her and included allegations against her.

Talbot reportedly told police she removed the flyers, but pictures of them are circulating on social media. The Red Canyon Montessori social media pages have been deleted and the website reads “under construction.” 

Talbot was charged last month with a Class A misdemeanor count of child abuse and is the subject of investigations by the Santa Clara Police Department and the Department of Family and Child Services. 

The flyers call for parents of other potential victims to contact attorneys Mark Barlow and Nathan Langston from the McMullin Legal Group, who are representing parents and victims of the alleged abuse. Langston said he believes the flyers were posted to inform other parents of the ongoing situation.

“The many parents and former teachers I’ve spoken with have sought a way to inform other parents that might not yet know of the allegations,” Langston said. “They want to help protect the community by bringing awareness to the scope and reach of Mrs. Talbot’s alleged dangerous behavior.”

As of June 12, Langston said, there were only two families involved in the civil suit. Now there are five and “likely going to be more.”

He said a group of 16 parents and teachers met Thursday to discuss additional complaints, which may become more allegations in the prospective civil suit, including child negligence and defamation.

“We have some pretty good evidence of this, and it’s kind of shocking and interesting.”

Talbot’s attorney, Ruth Shapiro, issued a statement June 11 that the allegations were “unsubstantiated” and “wholly without merit.” In another statement, Shapiro said the allegations were the first and came from a disgruntled past employee. However, Langston said the allegations are not the first of their kind. 

Read more: Owner of local Montessori school under criminal investigation for alleged child abuse

In 2017, a parent sought legal counsel after alleged instances of neglect that prompted her to seek medical treatment and withdraw her child from Desert Edge Montessori. The case was settled out of court after the attorney sent Talbot a letter containing 12-15 allegations.

Langston said this is the first time he’s known Talbot to relinquish a contract. In fact, he said some parents have chosen to withdraw their children while continuing to pay after Talbot threatened to get attorneys involved or send their debts to collections.

The Santa Clara Police Department subpoenaed video footage from the school’s security cameras, but the cloud storage company said Talbot never paid for storage of the videos.

In the past, parents who requested to view footage of incidents related to their children were told it was against policy for parents to review videos recorded in the day care because of privacy concerns.

Detective Nick Tobler is investigating the allegations as well as looking into possible harassment charges against the person or persons responsible for posting the flyers. 

A flyer with the name and picture of Analee Talbot and other information was posted on a pole in Santa Clara, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy the Moms Helping Moms Saint George Utah Facebook page, St. George News

Langston, however, said he doesn’t believe the individual broke any laws or city ordinances because the flyers do not include defamatory remarks and are factually correct. Furthermore, he said it is not unlawful to post flyers in a public place.

The number of people who have come forward is concerning, he said, but it helps him to know that he’s “on the right track.”

Langston said in the beginning he was cautious of the fact that the initial complaint could have been lodged by a disgruntled employee, but upon looking into it he believes the stories are true.

The attorney said he has a timeline in mind for filing a lawsuit, but wants to give parents as many opportunities as possible to speak out before moving forward.

“I have an idea of what I want to do, but that’s a soft deadline for me, and it might very well change.”

Email: rrichardson@stgnews.com 

Twitter: @STGnews | @AvereeRyann 

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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