HIRAM, Ga. — A woman who has had a spotless record with the state taking care of children in her home in Paulding County for decades is now charged with multiple counts of child cruelty and assault.
And detectives say the abuse was recorded on her own security cameras.
The daycare owner, Goldia Marie Lipsky, 63, was just arrested a second time, following her initial arrest last month; investigators say they’d been reviewing her security video and found her committing additional crimes against the five pre-schoolers in her care.
Lipsky, the proprietor of Reach for the Sky Academy, is in the Paulding County Jail.
“I’m in utter disbelief,” Felisha Ross said Thursday night. “Disbelief, shock, anger, guilt, a lot of anxiety... Never would have expected any of this.”
Ross’ child, who is nine months old, now, had been attending the daycare since August.
“I was reluctant putting my daughter in daycare,” Ross said. “So it was very important for me to do my research and diligence of trying to find a good daycare for my daughter. I met with (Lipsky), interviewed her, she had great references.”
Then last month Ross said she got a call from a Paulding County Sheriff’s Office detective, “telling me that Lipsky was arrested” for abusing Ross' child and the other children. “I was in a complete state of shock, could not process the words that I heard that she was arrested for child abuse.”
Ross and the parents of the other four children — the five children range in age from nine months old to three years old — told 11Alive that they look back, now, and realize there were possible warning signs in their children.
In Ross’ case, all the photos she’s always taking of her daughter may tell a story that, she said, she didn’t recognize at first.
“You know, no parent wants to automatically jump to conclusions or assume that their child is being abused at daycare, that's not the first thing that you think of when you see any little mark on your kid,” she said. “But I have a lot of pictures of my daughter.... There are definitely some pictures, and things that I have spoken with the detective about, as far as with my daughter, the signs that I obviously missed” after her daughter began attending the daycare in August.
The promotional photos and write-ups online of Lipsky’s daycare facility in Hiram portray a cozy home, a happy, safe environment for children.
When Ross, like the other parents, did her research and checked references and looked up state records with the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, she found that Lipsky has been a licensed daycare operator in good standing since 1990.
And all that time since, Lipsky has passed all inspections and has not had any complaints filed against her, according to DECAL.
But now, arrest warrants based on what Lipsky’s own security videos recorded last month describe an environment of violence and horror.
One of the warrants: “...she struck Juvenile B.F. in the head with her hand twenty times, with excessive force, causing him great pain...”
Another warrant: “...she struck Juvenile C.V. in the head with a plastic container, with excessive force, causing him great pain...”
“But if you can’t trust a state quality worker who is licensed with the state, who’s been evaluated twice a year, who’s been in business more than 30 years, with star ratings with the state, who can you really trust with your kids?” Ross said. “I had conversations with her, it was important for me to know who I was leaving my child with, so I would go in her home, I would speak with her. Never did I suspect that she was doing this, ever. Never.”
Ross' sense of guilt and anger, she said, is almost overwhelming.
DECAL has launched its own investigation into the daycare and Lipsky.
Paulding County investigators expect to file additional charges against Lipsky.
And they are asking anyone who might have information about additional possible victims over the years to call the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office tipline, 770-443-3047.