LINCOLN COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A former staff member at a daycare in Lincoln County who is accused of pulling a child's hair has been suspended from having any involvement at the Lincoln Cultural Center, officials said Wednesday.
According to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, 23-year-old Rebecca Nicole DeGregory, of Lincolnton, was charged with one misdemeanor count of child abuse. Officials say DeGregory worked at the Mini Academy Daycare Center on Unity Church Road in Denver at the time of the alleged incident.
Deputies said the investigation began on March 23, when the mother of an 18-month-old child at the daycare told deputies she received a call from workers at the daycare on March 21. During that call, the worker said another child had pulled her daughter's hair "hard enough to pull hair out but the child was OK," deputies said.
Several hours later, the mother said, another staff member called her and said after reviewing video they had determined DeGregory had pulled her daughter's hair, not another child, according to deputies.
Officials say DeGregory was suspended then terminated from her position at the daycare.
On Wednesday, a spokesperson with the Lincoln Cultural Center said DeGregory was suspended "pending the outcome of the charges." The spokesperson said DeGregory is also suspended from having any involvement with member groups.
Officials said DeGregory was a secretary and on the board at the cultural center.
"She does not seem like someone that would intentionally hurt a child. I don't know what happened and I am not saying it didn't happen. There are two sides to every story. It is just a unfortunate situation. I hate it for her and her family and I hate it for the child it happened to. Just a sad situation," said DeGregory's neighbor Tim Carswell.
DeGregory was arrested on March 26 and released on a $5,000 bond.
"What I know about her character does not match. I can't imagine her ever harming a child," said Camella Pearce, who has known DeGregory for years.
WBTV attempted to contact the family of the child but was told they were in Florida.