ST. GEORGE — Parents of former students who attended Desert Edge Montessori filed a civil lawsuit against the defunct Santa Clara-based child care facility and its owner Tuesday afternoon.
The Washington County Attorney’s Office charged Analee Talbot with child abuse, a class A misdemeanor, on May 17. Talbot submitted her not guilty plea on June 26. Around the time Talbot was charged, the lawsuit was started by two families who alleged their children had been smacked and spit on.
According to attorney Nate Langston, the lawsuit claims “Talbot’s actions manifested a knowing and reckless indifference toward, and a disregard of, their children’s rights.”
Langston met with a group of 16 parents and former teachers to discuss additional complaints, with the number of families involved increasing to five. Potential allegations ranged from child abuse and negligence to defamation and more.
Now, eight families are involved in the civil suit, seeking punitive damages for the negligence their children allegedly experienced.
The lawsuit filed against Talbot alleged that she and her business engaged in negligent discipline, battery, breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
By seeking recompense, the families involved in the lawsuit are hoping the civil discovery process will aid in the criminal proceedings or help the prosecutor pursue additional criminal charges.
“The families want to see that Talbot is held accountable for her actions and that she will never be in a position of power and trust over small children again,” Langston said.
Desert Edge Montessori was temporarily closed and re-branded as Red Canyon Montessori, which opened for a matter of weeks before permanently closing its doors June 27. According to Talbot’s attorney, Ruth Shapiro, the closure was not related to the allegations.
Talbot is expected to appear in 5th District Court for the second roll call hearing in the criminal proceedings Sept. 25 at 8:30 a.m.
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