Ten months ago, a New York boy told investigators that his mother was abusing him, according to a daycare director who heard the interview between the child and investigators. Until this month, however, he was still in the mother’s care.
According to Syracuse.com, 44-year-old Susan Orendorf was arrested last Tuesday, 10 months after daycare director Karen Sweeney was reportedly assured by child abuse investigators that the victim would be removed from Ordendorf’s care.
Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. Jon Seeber said Orenddorf is accused of tying the boy to a bed, refusing to feed him, and strangling him. A criminal complaint filed at the Camillus Town Court states that the abuse had been ongoing for five years.
“I don’t understand,” Sweeney, the director of Partners in Parenting Child Care Center in Camillus, said on Friday. “I sat through the interview and in detail he tells this woman how he was abused, gives her very specific details.”
“Anyone who works with children and generally cares about him would know this boy is in trouble.”
CNY Central reports that court documents claim that from 2017 until September 2022, Orendorf consistently withheld food from the child. In September 2022, the victim was hospitalized weighing 57 pounds.
Sweeney said that the victim was enrolled at her daycare when he was 10, and Sweeny could “immediately tell something was wrong.” Orendorf allegedly sent a set of strict instructions on how and when to feed the child, which stated he needed to be restricted from amounts of both food and drink.
The victim would routinely come to the daycare with bruises on his body and cuts on his body. Orendorf reportedly explained that the injuries happened while her son was playing and fell down, but the victim, who developed a close bond with Sweeney, began opening up to her, explaining what was really happening at his home.
From there, Sweeney contacted CPS for help and learned that numerous other adults in the area had been reporting the alleged abuse to CPS for years. Sweeney added that Orendorf had two biological children that were well taken care of. The 11-year-old is her adopted son.
Lauren Thornton, a waitress at Tully’s restaurant, told CNY Central that she became familiar with the Orendorf family, as they were regulars at the restaurant.
“He looked scared, he looked sad,” Thornton recalled. “There was no connection towards him from the mother. She was always yelling at him, always had this disgusted look on her face. You could tell there was no love there, at all.”
In 2021, Sweeny accompanied that child as he gave specific details of the abuse to investigators.
“There’s no way a child can describe what he described to her and go home with that mom. That’s exactly what happened,” Sweeney said. “I had promised this child, this time it’s gonna work. And it didn’t, because after that I… she took him out of the program.”
Some of the details of abuse included pulling on the child’s genitals as punishment for wetting himself, court documents indicate. When she tied him to his bed, Orendorf reportedly left the child there overnight with nothing on but a diaper.
Seeber told local reporters that the sheriff’s office got involved in the case this month, but he was not aware of whether CPS was involved in this case until the sheriff’s office began investigating. Seeber said investigators are currently going through the CPS database for answers.
“We always encourage the public to call 911 if they suspect child abuse is occurring,” Seeber added.
The victim has since been removed from Orendorf’s care. She’s now facing one count of unlawful imprisonment and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
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[Featured image: Orendorf/Handout]