Inside Israel

Daycare manager jailed for 3.5 years for abuse, assault of young kids under her care

A daycare manager was sentenced to 3.5 years behind bars on Wednesday after she was convicted on four counts of abuse and 14 counts of assault against toddlers under her care.

Luba Kazakevich from the central city of Ramat Gan was additionally convicted of obstruction of justice for attempting to delete security camera footage from the kindergarten that showed the abuse.

Kazakevich was also sentenced to 12 months of probation and will pay NIS 50,000 (approximately $15,000) in compensation.

“There were multiple acts that caused pain and suffering while taking advantage of the toddlers’ inability to defend themselves,” said Judge Maayan Ben-Ari at the Tel Aviv District Court.

The case shocked the nation when in November 2020 Channel 12 news broadcast CCTV footage from the daycare showing Kazakevich beating, pushing and slapping children aged from a few months until the age of three.

Some of the young children were tied to chairs for lengthy periods of time.

A still from security camera footage shows Luba Kazakevich abusing children at her daycare (Screen grab/Channel 12)

Police immediately announced an investigation, leading to the arrest and later conviction of Kazakevich.

Suspicions were initially raised when a child told their mother they had been hit by Kazakevich.

Parents demanded to see the security camera footage, but Kazakevich claimed the system had not been switched on. She also tried to explain away injuries suffered by children at the daycare.

When she was convicted last year, judges ruled that Kazakevich had abused the children on multiple occasions over a prolonged period of time.

“Her actions were spread over weeks and this is reflected in videos in which the defendant instills an atmosphere of fear in the kindergarten, and contempt for the children. She harmed the children over a prolonged period,” the court ruled.

Israel has seen several high-profile cases in which teachers at private daycares have been caught on film abusing children, sparking widespread anger and leading for calls for greater oversight.

Most notoriously, Carmel Mauda, the head of the Baby Love daycare in Rosh Ha’ayin, was sentenced last year to 9.5 years in prison. Mauda was arrested after graphic footage showed her and others abusing children as young as 3 months old, leading to large protests. An arsonist later set fire to the Rosh Ha’ayin building that housed the daycare and Mauda’s home.

In 2019, a daycare center attendant was sentenced to 17 years in prison for smothering to death an 18-month-old girl under her care.

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