Day care teacher pleads not guilty to drugging children - Morgan Hill Times: Crime Fire Courts

Day care teacher pleads not guilty to drugging children

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Posted: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 11:05 am

The woman accused of slipping a sleep-aid medication into the sippy cups of toddlers at a Morgan Hill daycare center pleaded not guilty to multiple charges of child endangerment this week, authorities said. 

Deborah Gratz, 59 of Hollister, was arraigned on 10 misdemeanors - including five counts of attempted child endangerment and five counts of assault - at South County Courthouse in Morgan Hill Tuesday. 

Gratz pleaded not guilty to all 10 counts, and the case was continued to an April 25 hearing, also at South County Courthouse, according to Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Sumerle Davis. 

Earlier this month, a fellow teacher at Kiddie Academy Daycare, 15750 Monterey Road, saw Gratz slipping an unknown substance into the sippy cups of about 10 toddlers between the ages of 1 and 2, police said. The children were under Gratz’ care at the time, and Gratz had worked at Kiddie Academy since 2007. 

Staff at Kiddie Academy determined that Gratz had placed Sominex, an over-the-counter sleep-aid medication, in the children’s drinks, police said. The staff fired Gratz, and reported the attempted drugging to police. 

None of the children consumed the substance, but police served a search warrant at Gratz’ home March 11 and found unspecified evidence related to the incident, authorities said. Police arrested Gratz at her home. 

Gratz is out of custody, authorities said. 

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