Crime & Courts

Fort Mill day care employee arrested, charged with touching boys

Gentry
Gentry

A day care employee has been arrested after sheriff’s investigators say he inappropriately touched two 8-year-old boys in his care.

Steven Matthew Gentry, 28, of York is charged with four counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor, police said.

According to a York County Sheriff’s Office report, deputies were alerted to an investigation by the state Department of Social Services on March 31. DSS had received complaints that an employee at Smart Kids’ Child Development Center had inappropriately touched two young boys at the day care.

On Wednesday, Gentry turned himself in at the Moss Justice Center.

Smart Kids director Bobby Exizian said Thursday that Gentry has not been employed by the day care since staff became aware he was the target of the investigation.

“We have cooperated with the investigation from day one, since these allegations were brought to our attention,” Exizian said, before declining further comment.

Smart Kids sent a letter to parents alerting them to the DSS investigation last month, according to one mother with children at the day care, who asked not to be identified. She said Gentry was an after-school and summer camp teacher for older children at Smart Kids, and was known for babysitting on the side.

“This is someone my kids liked and trusted,” she said.

According to arrest warrants, two of the incidents occurred last summer, and another two earlier this year. Gentry is accused of committing a lewd and lascivious act on the children by rubbing and touching each boy’s genitals.

Gentry had not been arrested in South Carolina before Wednesday, according to the State Law Enforcement Division.

“You would hope they would do a background check,” the mother said. “You don’t think this can happen somewhere with your kids.”

Bristow Marchant: 803-329-4062, @BristowatHome

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