McKINNEY — The daughter of a McKinney day care operator charged with indecency with a child is defending her mother.
Charlotte Semrau, 70, was accused of showing at least one pornographic video to a five-year-old girl in her care. The girl told her parents that she and Semrau "rubbed" themselves while in Semrau's bed. The girl also described a sexual toy to her parents, saying the babysitter used it on herself.
"My mother would never harm a child," Semrau's daughter told News 8. "She treats these children like her own, and it breaks her heart because this little girl was like a part of her family."
Semrau provided a day care service at her home in this quiet McKinney neighborhood where young ones play freely, and young families are seen taking an early evening stroll.
The qualities of the subdivision lured for people like Marcus Smith. "This is the kind of neighborhood and area where you can really invest yourself," he said. "So when something like this comes up, yeah, I mean it’s like a bomb going off."
Charlotte Semrau posted bond after her arrest and was released from jail.
"The nature of the crime, I don’t fathom it," Smith said. "It’s disgusting to me. You know, it’s really shocking."
So shocking that a lot of residents would rather not talk about it. Some are embarrassed that they trusted Semrau, even though she has not been convicted of the accusations against her.
We know that Semrau had been taking care of 10 neighborhood kids at the time of her arrest, and more over the years.
While police investigate, so will the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the agency that oversees day care centers. Semrau surrendered her operating permit on Tuesday.
"Licensing did instruct them to stop operating and stop caring for children, and the operation complied," spokeswoman Marissa Gonzales confirmed.
The five or so violations over three years are minor, according to the department. But the allegations of sexual impropriety are not.
"Typically, a licensing investigator will speak with the other children who had been cared for there; we’ll talk to the parents," Gonzales said.
For the moment, parents are rattled. They’re wondering if the allegations are really true, because in this kid-friendly neighborhood, news like this is devastating.
"I'm really kind of overwhelmed," Smith said.
The state agency will take about 30 days to complete its investigation of Semrau's day are center.