Feds Say 13 Kids Were Abused at Robins AFB Day Care

Child development center in building 288

A US Air Force child development center. Employees of an on-base day care at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, are accused of abusing 13 children in early 2021. US Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexandria Lee.

US Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexandria Lee.

A woman accused of abusing at least 13 children at an Air Force day care center was arrested and released on a $15,000 bond Tuesday, Oct. 11. Two others remain at large.

Zhanay Kiana Flynn, 27, was released with special conditions to include no contact with victims or their families and no employment or other activity involving children.

An arrest warrant was issued for Antanesha Mone Fritz, 29, on the same charges, but she had not been arrested by Friday afternoon, nor had a third woman who supervised the two.

All former employees at the Child Development Center on Robins Air Force Base, they were indicted in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia on 30 counts including cruelty to children in the first degree, cruelty to children in the second degree, and simple battery.

According to the indictment, Flynn and Fritz allegedly forced as many as five children at a time to physically fight, going so far as to grab the hands and legs of children to make them “hit” and “kick” one another. They also allegedly sprayed children with cleaning fluid on a regular basis and forced children into a small enclosure as punishment.

Robins

An E-8C Joint STARS aircraft at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, July 1, 2021. Air National Guard photo by Barry Bena.

Air National Guard photo by Barry Bena.

The indictment does not identify the children, but Robins Child Development Center is primarily open to military families associated with the base. The indictment specifies that 13 children were victims.

In a statement to Coffee or Die Magazine, a spokesman for Robins Air Force Base said, “Properly caring for our Airmen and their families is of utmost importance. Our Airmen should have confidence in the care provided at our Child Development Center. We are fully supporting the ongoing investigation and reviewing processes to ensure the appropriate measures are in place to safeguard our children.”

Latona Mae Lambert, 51, the center’s director, was indicted for failing to stop or report Flynn and Fritz.

Arrest warrants remain in effect for Fritz and Lambert.

The indictment accuses Flynn and Fritz of shaking and threatening to strike children, stepping on the leg of a child, pulling a child’s hair, kicking a child and causing them to fall into a wall, lifting a child off the ground by the arm, shoving a child into a hard object and punishing the child for crying, hitting a toy out of a child’s hand, and lifting a child’s cot off the ground while the child was sleeping and causing the child to fall to the ground.

Robins

Three women are charged with brutalizing children or doing nothing to stop the abuse as Robins Air Force Base child care employees. Photo by Edward Aspera.

Photo by Edward Aspera.

A press release from the US Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia said the case is being investigated by the US Air Force Office of Special Investigations and Air Force Security Forces, with support from the FBI. When contacted by Coffee or Die, Melissa Hodges of the US Attorney’s Office said the office would not be commenting further on a pending investigation.

The Child Development Center had not responded to requests for comment at the time of publication. According to the Department of Defense, all CDC programs have Department of Defense certification and accreditation from a national accrediting body and undergo four unannounced inspections every year.

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Maggie BenZvi is a contributing editor for Coffee or Die. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Chicago, a master’s degree in human rights from Columbia University, and has worked for the ACLU as well as the International Rescue Commitee. She has also completed a summer journalism program at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. In addition to her work at Coffee or Die, she’s a stay at home mom and, notably, does not drink coffee. Got a tip? Get in touch!
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