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By: Alice Massimi | WSAV News 3 
Published: March 20, 2012

The Catholic Diocese of Savannah is being sued.

The lawsuit accuses St. James Early Learning Center of hiring a woman as a teacher's aide who not only had a lengthy criminal history but was actually under house arrest when she was hired.

Many people are wondering how someone with such a background could be hired, which is one of the reasons for the lawsuit.

According to court documents, the school never did a proper background check, and because of that, the lawsuit states, a student and her family suffered.

From Simple Battery to Theft by Taking to Cruelty to Children... just some of the charges Cristina Scott has faced since 2007.

Yet St James Early Learning Center on Savannah's Southside hired her as a classroom aide.

“This preschool has standards and rules that they must follow before they hire anyone even their minimum wage teachers aides to come in and be around the children that these parents have entrusted to their care,” says Savannah Attorney Mark Tate.

Tate represents the family of a three year old who was under Scott's care while attending the daycare.

According to a deposition from the director of the school Wendy Harrison, Scott was hired before a criminal background check was completed....something that goes against the school's and state's policies.

“You would think if there is any entity on the face of the plant that has come to learn that their actions have consequences it would be the educational system within the Catholic Church.”

A decision that Tate says had devastating effects on his client’s family.

The lawsuit accuses Scott of inappropriately touching the three year old and then fabricating a false report that the girl's family was actually molesting her.

“In this instance she made up false accusations against the parents of a child. The parents will suffer the consequences for the rest of their life, the daughter having to be interviewed by DFACS, the parents having DFACS in their home because of a completely false allegation.”

Tate admits at first they were suing the diocese for improperly training Scott on items as serious and sensitive as child molestation but as they began to dig deeper they learned about Scott's criminal past.

“When we found out St James decided to hire Scott, pay her minimum wage and put her around kids we were shocked.”

We did try to contact Cristina Scott but were unsuccessful.

The Diocese says because it's an active court case they can't comment.

For more information about Tate Law Group, LLC, please visit or the International Society of Primerus Law Firms.

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