Authorities are pursuing swift action to permanently shut down an unlicensed Cottage Grove day-care operation after allegations that a woman was drunk with 12 small children in her home.
Megan K. Martin, 25, is scheduled to appear Friday in Washington County District Court as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by the County Attorney’s Office seeking to put her out of the day-care business for good.
Martin is also charged with gross-misdemeanor child neglect and operating a home day care without a license, a misdemeanor. She is due in court on those charges on June 3.
Police searched Martin’s home in the 8100 block of Granada Avenue S. on Feb. 25 and found three of the 12 children in her care strapped in their car seats with blankets draped over them, County Attorney Pete Orput said in a statement Monday announcing the lawsuit.
The search turned up 17 violations that could have been cited against Martin had she been a licensed provider, Orput added.
An “odor of alcohol emanating from Martin” prompted police to give her a preliminary breath test, Orput said, which found her blood-alcohol content to be 0.12%. That’s higher than the legal definition of intoxication for driving a vehicle in Minnesota.
Martin admitted offering day-care services for roughly five years and “stated she had actively avoided obtaining a license,” according to the county attorney.
The children’s parents were contacted immediately and directed to pick up their children from the home, Orput said.
The lawsuit also alleges that Martin advertised her services on the internet and falsely claimed to be licensed as a home day-care provider.
“There are hundreds of competent, caring licensed child-care providers,” Orput said. “It is abhorrent there are those who choose to ignore the laws intended to protect our children. I encourage parents and grandparents to use public resources to determine if your child-care provider is properly licensed.”
Messages were left Tuesday with Martin seeking a response to the allegations. Court records list no attorney for her in either the civil or criminal cases.