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Sayles worries about trauma on her family
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LATHROP — It was the end of a long two days for Lathrop Mayor Kristy Sayles as she sat in her family room Wednesday night sorting out the trauma and its fall out after an altercation between her husband Tom, 57, and her 8-year-old son.

The fact that she operates the Early Start Child Development Center in her Lathrop home further aggravated the situation with a telephone rumor emerging that one of her young students had been assaulted and that her school was going to be shut down.

Parents had also been called one-by-one by an anonymous woman and told they shouldn’t bring their children to Sayles’ school as it was closing, she noted.  The Manteca Bulletin also received a call at about 8:30 Wednesday morning with a woman telling of an assault at the school, but declined to give her name.

Nothing could be further from the truth as to the student assault accusation, Sayles said, noting that she had done everything right in immediately contacting the appropriate licensing agencies, CPS and the police.

The assault happened after the preschool was closed.

 “I will see a representative from the Community Care Licensing Agency who will come in and evaluate the situation,” she said.  

As she talked in her home her boys were already upstairs, had their baths and were in bed.  Later two of her teaching aides came by to show their support and spend an hour with her watching a movie.

The boy’s step-father had been arrested on a single felony child abuse charge at 7 p.m. Tuesday night by Lathrop deputies and transported to San Joaquin County Jail.  He is to appear today in the Manteca Branch of the San Joaquin County Superior Court at 1:30 p.m.

The mayor said she and her husband have had marital issues since March with a divorce pending.  She said her church community had been working with them through a counseling group to develop a solution that they hoped might save their marriage.
While continuing to live in the home, that doubles as the child preschool facility, he would leave by 6 a.m. for his construction position and not return until 6 p.m. or after in the evening. He also has not been associated with the preschool’s operation.

She said she had left her two boys, 8 and 10 years old, in his care while she was chairing the city council meeting Monday night, noting they were in bed when she returned sometime after 9 p.m.  Ironically at that meeting she had presented a council proclamation declaring Domestic Violence Awareness Week in Lathrop.

Sayles said her daily routine usually begins at 4:45 in the morning with parents dropping their children off beginning a 6 a.m.  She wasn’t aware the confrontation had taken place until she got her boys up to get ready to have breakfast and catch the bus for school.

After seeing the swollen eye on her son, she said she questioned him and her husband as to what happened.  

“You don’t hit a child – no matter what,” she insisted.  Her secondary concern was the parents and the kids coming into her home that they not be made aware or drawn into the family situation.

Sayles said she called Lt. Chris Pehl at the Lathrop Police Services office and asked to come and see him away from her residence.  She said she had taken pictures of the injury and didn’t want deputies coming to the house and disrupting her preschool activity.   She asked a friend to pick up up the boys after school and take them to her home.  It was there they were interviewed by deputies as to exactly what had happened.

She said the scenario continued when officers arrived at their home at about 6:30 Tuesday evening issuing an emergency restraining order against her husband for the whole family – taking him into custody.  The arrest occurred following the preschool’s daylong operation when all of the children and parents have left the residence.

When parents picked up their children Wednesday evening Sayles said she spoke to them all about the situation.  

“I sat every one of the parents down independently and asked them to be very careful of what they told the children.  I didn’t want them to know what happened,” she said. “My kids are continuing to go to their school – nothing different for them.”

Sayles added that she is in the process of asking the restraining order be made permanent and requesting that her husband be disassociated with the childcare facility.

 “My school is going on to function as it has,” she said.  “I’ve been in business 10 years.  My parents love me and I love them and I still have a waiting list.”