Childcare owner sued over abuse claim

EDINBURG — The mother of a toddler whose teacher allegedly grabbed him by the neck is suing the teacher and his childcare business for negligence, charging him with subjecting her 3-year-old son “to physical and emotional neglect and abuse … by failing to provide a safe and habitable learning environment that was free from injury or harm.”

The lawsuit, filed Oct. 30, comes a few weeks after Alejandro “Alex” Rios, the former district director for state Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, and current board member of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, was arrested on a third-degree felony injury to a child charge. Canales fired him shortly before his arrest.

Rios, who owns Kids’ Kollege Learning Center, was allegedly seen by another teacher putting “his right hand on (the child’s) throat area, causing his head to jerk back,” according to the probable cause affidavit tied to his Oct. 10 arrest.

Rios took to Facebook to write that the allegation against him was “absurd” and that he was confident he would eventually be “vindicated.”

Edinburg police are still investigating the case, said spokesman Lt. Oscar Treviño, who said the case has yet to be turned over to the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office for potential prosecution.

The child’s mother, Ruby Sens, is “seeking monetary relief over $100,000 but not more than the jurisdiction limits” of County Court-at-Law No. 4 in which the lawsuit was filed, which hears civil cases under $200,000.

Sens’ attorney, Michael Pruneda, said his client decided to pursue litigation against Rios because “they want to ensure that not only will they seek some justice from the jury in this case but hopefully it doesn’t happen to any children that have to obtain the (childcare) service.”

Pruneda said he hopes the lawsuit will serve as a warning to both local daycare centers as well for parents looking for centers in which to enroll their children.

Rios did not return a request for comment, but in a Nov. 8 answer he filed pro se in response to the lawsuit, he “denies each and every allegation” of Sens’ lawsuit.

No court dates have been set, according to court records.