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The Times' criminal justice team looks behind the scenes and behind the headlines.

October 22, 2010 at 3:50 PM

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Former daycare operator sentenced for child molestation

Posted by Jennifer Sullivan

A 23-year-old man who prosecutors say molested two children at his daycare was sentenced Friday to just over seven years in prison.

James Christopher Day previously pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree child molestation and one count of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes.

On Friday, parents of the children victimized by Day told Superior Court Judge Timothy Bradshaw that he deserved a harsh sentence. One mother said she has had nightmares about her child suffering.

Day's mother emotionally told Bradshaw that her son needs to serve time for his offenses, but that he "needs love and support and help." Day's family and his fiancée attended the hearing.

Day apologized for his crimes. "I hate this part of me and I want to change," Day said. "I will work hard in treatment to destroy this beast in me."

According to charges, Day operated the Blue Sunshine Daycare in Shoreline when the parents of a 5-year-old girl contacted the King County Sheriff's Office after their daughter reported that Day had touched her inappropriately on several occasions.

The girl told her parents that in the two months she attended the daycare, Day kissed her body and took photos of her while she was clothed, charging papers said. While the case was under investigation, another set of parents contacted authorities to report that their 6-year-old daughter had also been touched inappropriately by Day at Blue Sunshine Daycare.

When questioned by investigators, Day said that he would kiss the children he's caring for on the cheeks and forehead because he is "very affectionate," charges said. Day told detectives that that "he tries to act like a woman would act toward the children," charging documents said.

The charge of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes stems from a 2008 incident on Island County. While Island County prosecutors said they initially lacked enough evidence to charge the crime, King County prosecutors charged Day with the 2008 crime because the case "was a crime of the same of similar character" to the crimes in King County, charging papers said.

"We saw a pattern of predatory behavior," King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Sean O'Donnell said after Friday's hearing.

Day had been investigated by the Island County Sheriff's Office in 2008 for inappropriately touching a 5-year-old girl he was caring while he worked at South Whidbey Childcare, charging papers said. The case was forwarded to Island County prosecutors, but charges were not filed because of insufficient evidence, King County charging papers said

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