LEHI, Utah – A babysitter is behind bars after he allegedly touched several girls inappropriately in his at-home daycare, while the children’s parents were at work.
According to Lehi police, Arturo Vargas is charged with 16 counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child and 10 counts of lewdness involving a child.
“We didn't realize anything was going on,” a neighbor of Vargas, who did not want to be identified, said. “We had no idea.”
Vargas allegedly molested young girls since June 2011 at his Lehi Little Bears Daycare facility, for his own sexual gratification, according to a Lehi police affidavit.
Lehi officers received a report of a sex offense involving a five-year-old and seven-year-old girl. The girls are sisters.
The five year old girl told her mother Vargas played a “game” with them and touched all the girls inappropriately, according to the affidavit. The child claimed all the girls were touched, including a “newborn baby.”
On July 28, 2011, a toddler disclosed that Vargas allegedly touched her at least twice in the past couple of months.
On December 16, 2011, a 5-year-old girl disclosed Vargas allegedly touched her inappropriately “everyday” or “every time” she went to daycare. The girl’s 7-year-old sister claimed Vargas touched her inappropriately at least twice. The sisters had been attending the Little Bears Daycare 5 days a week since November 1, 2011.
Vargas denied the allegations. He discussed cultural differences between the United States and Chile, where he was born. Vargas claimed that in Chile, “touching” a child’s private parts was not viewed as poorly.
Vargas agreed to have cotton swabs of his hands tested.
“No parent should have to worry about who they are leaving their children with,” the neighbor added.