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Former Pueblo YMCA worker charged with child abuse following incident with a child in her care

PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO) -- A former employee at the YMCA of Pueblo is facing child abuse allegations. Shelly Agramonte is charged with allegedly injuring a child she was taking care of while working there.

The Pueblo Police Department (PPD) started their investigation after receiving a call from the child's father. The father told KRDO13 he grew concerned after hearing from the YMCA there had been an incident with an employee and seeing bruising on his child's arm.

However, Agramonte denies any form of child abuse occurred and her criminal defense attorney Shawn Conti argues security camera footage inside the facility shows no evidence of abuse.

"We want to find the truth and we want fairness for our client," said Conti. "It's a rush to judgment on the part of the YMCA coupled with a very poor investigation on the part of PPD, and as a result, our client's future is in jeopardy."

The incident at the center of this case happened on May 25. According to court documents, Pueblo Police contacted the YMCA for information on the incident on May 29.

The quality of the security camera footage is grainy and a time stamp blocks portions of the movement the video captures, but in it, Agramonte can be seen attempting to hold a child down on her cot to take a nap.

In the video, the child appears to run away from Agramonte, before Agramonte picks the child up and puts her back on the sleeping mat.

According to court documents, one of Agramonte's coworkers at the YMCA told police they saw the altercation, and in a YMCA incident report, someone described Agramonte's actions as forceful.

In portions of the video, you can see Agramonte holding up the child's arms. One of Agramonte's former co-workers told KRDO13 the child was known to hit and bite and Agramonte was likely trying to calm the child down and protect herself from being hit.

Conti said he contacted professionals in the childcare industry to ask whether the actions displayed in the video are inappropriate for childcare providers. Conti explained he doesn't see evidence of child abuse and neither did those professionals.

"I see normal, everyday babysitting watching a child," said Conti. "I see her handling the child the same way that my parents handled me. I showed it to a woman who owns a child care and she says, 'I can't believe you're even asking me that. I see nothing inappropriate with that.'"

In building his case, Conti reached out to Agramonte's former supervisor Nicole Sparks; she also talked with KRDO13 for this story.

Sparks was Agramonte's direct supervisor and believes Agramonte is guiltless in this situation.

"The video doesn't show anything abusive to me," said Sparks. "It never shows her grabbing the arms where said bruises were at, and it shows the person who reported it, walking out of the room."

Sparks said the child involved in the incident was known by staff as someone who would get physical with the employees.

"She was known to bite, hit, kick and punch. I myself had sat with her for a whole hour in a room, a little office room outside of a classroom because she was being disruptive during that time," said Sparks. "And I was told that she has to lay down, that we force the kids to sleep during this nap time, and she didn't like it. So, I had to pull her in her separate room."

Sparks said she decided to resign from her role after frustration with YMCA leadership and discomfort over some of their decisions.

However, the Pueblo Police officer who conducted this investigation and examined security camera footage did see evidence of roughness and found probable cause for Agramonte to be charged with misdemeanor Child Abuse Knowingly/Recklessly Causing Injury.

The child's father told KRDO13 he doesn't want Agramonte to work with children ever again after this incident, but he doesn't want this situation to ruin her life.

KRDO13 reached out to the YMCA of Pueblo for information on Agramonte's employment status and the case. They sent this statement:

The safety and well-being of children in our care has always been and will always be a top priority. 

In May 2023, a staff member reported allegations of abuse by another staff member against a child in a youth program to YMCA Leadership. The accused employee was immediately removed from serving in programs, the YMCA reported the allegations to the Colorado Department of Early Childhood Licensing, and conducted its own internal investigation. Following that investigation, the employee was terminated from all YMCA employment. 

All of the background checks, including the State of Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect/TRAILS check, were conducted on this staff member during the hiring process and met all Colorado State Early Childhood Licensing and YMCA adjudication standards. Throughout employment, the employee maintained currency with all mandated child safety training required by both the YMCA and the State of Colorado Licensing Agency.

YMCA Risk Management Spokesperson

Article Topic Follows: News
child care
child care center
YMCA employee
YMCA of Pueblo

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Annabelle Childers

Annabelle is a reporter for KRDO NewsChannel 13. Learn more about her here.


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