Couple charged with alleged abuse of nine children at Wallingford home daycare

A Wallingford daycare owner and her boyfriend were arrested and charged in connection with the alleged abuse of nine children in her care, police said.

The Wallingford Police Department charged 61-year-old daycare owner Brenda L. Fornal — whose daycare license had been suspended earlier this year — and her 66-year-old boyfriend Grant Freer for risk of injury to children at Fornal’s daycare located at her home on Ridgetop Road, according to the Wallingford Police Department.

The Wallingford Detective Division discovered that nine children were alleged victims of verbal and physical abuse while at Fornal’s home daycare, according to police. During the course of the investigation, detectives obtained evidence that developed probable cause, police said.

Warrants were issued for the couple after a nearly three-month-long investigation, and the pair turned themselves in on Tuesday, police said.

According to the Office of Early Childhood, Fornal’s daycare underwent a surprise inspection on Feb. 1, 2022. She was cited for violations related to emergency planning, quarterly emergency drills, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, child health records, scheduling and requirements for sleeping arrangements, a spokesperson for the office said Wednesday.

However, Fornal submitted “an acceptable corrective action plan that addressed the violations” and was permitted to keep operating her daycare.

On Aug. 26, the office received a complaint about the daycare. Four days later, Fornal’s license was suspended. She voluntarily surrendered her license shortly after that, effective Sept. 1, according to the OEC.

Officials from the OEC did not immediately provide further details about the complaint or what led to Fornal’s suspension.

NBC Connecticut reported that the complaint led to two follow up inspections at the daycare in August. A report following those inspections allegedly found that Fornal put underwear in a child’s mouth, slapped a child on multiple occasions, used foul language and threatened children, used an unapproved adult to care for kids and failed to supervise children at all times NBC reported.

The OEC did not immediately confirm these findings to the Courant on Wednesday.

The Department of Children and Families said they investigated Fornal’s daycare with Wallingford police and the Office of Early Childhood " in response to allegations of child maltreatment.”

The department said that according to state law, DCF cannot release further information about the specifics of the case involving Fornal’s daycare. Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes said in a statement that the couple’s arrests showed the state’s commitment to child safety.

“The arrests announced by the Wallingford Police Department reinforce that protecting children in all settings - family, childcare, schools, facilities and other locations takes diligent and persistent efforts,” said Dorantes in a statement Wednesday.

Fornal was charged with nine counts of risk of injury to a child, voyeurism with malice, seven counts of third-degree assault, two counts of second-degree threatening and fourth-degree sexual assault, police said.

Her bond was set at $125,000, according to police.

Greer was charged with conspiracy to commit risk of injury to a child and his bond was set at $1,000, police said.

Both are scheduled to appear in court in Meriden on Dec. 23, police said.

People with reasonable suspicions of child maltreatment can call the 24/7 Child Abuse and Neglect Careline at 1-800-842-2288. Callers may remain anonymous.

To access community based support and behavioral health services across Connecticut, call 211 or visit