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Cahokia daycare operator denies being served lawsuit alleging sexual abuse

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Sep 10, 2016

The operator of a Cahokia daycare claims she wasn’t served the case before summary judgment was entered against her in a lawsuit alleging a child was sexually molested in her care.

Tammy Bradley, as mother and next friend of her daughter, filed the suit on Nov. 25 against Melba King Sanders, doing business as Open Arms Daycare Center.

Sanders serves as a trustee in the Village of Cahokia.

According to the complaint, the child attended the daycare center and was allegedly sexually molested in July 2015 by Donnie Russell, Sanders’ son.

Russell was charged for his actions and pleaded guilty, the suit states.

Russell allegedly committed similar acts prior to Bradley’s daughter’s abuse, which were reported to the Department of Child and Family Services, the complaint states.

As a result, the plaintiff alleges Sanders was aware of her son’s criminal actions, but she still allowed him near children.

On Aug. 17, Sanders filed a motion to set aside and for relief from the July 18 order granting award damages to Bradley.

The defendant argues that she never received service of the complaint. But on May 26, Associate Judge Randall Kelley entered an order by default against Sanders.

Then on July 18, Kelley entered an order awarding damages to Bradley.

The defendant seeks to set aside that award and to be granted relief of judgment.

“Defendant was never personally served the complaint in this matter and was not aware of the need to file a responsive pleading. As such justice and fairness weigh to allow Defendant the opportunity to defend herself from this claim,” the motion states.

Sanders also filed a motion for relief from the May 26 default order.

The defendant is represented by Thomas Ysursa of Becker, Paulson Hoerner Thompson & Ysursa in Belleville.

Bradley is represented by Jeffrey Deutschman and Bradley Skafish of Deutschman & Associates in Chicago.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 15-L-677

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Deutschman and Associates

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