The former head of a local day care goes to trial this week in Rockdale County Superior Court for misdemeanor theft and felony damage to property.
Sarah Morton, 53, was charged with two counts of damaging property to defraud, two counts of driving away without paying for gas, and two counts of misdemeanor theft by taking for two incidents in August 2011.
Her co-defendant Robert James Curtis Jones, also faced the same charges and entered a guilty plea on March 18. Sentencing for Jones was deferred until the conclusion of Morton’s trial.
According to court documents, Jones and Morton are accused of prying open a gasoline pump, which allowed gasoline to continually be pumped without the charge registering at the cashier. They were charged for two incidents, one on Aug. 17, 2011 at a Shell station at 1437 Ga. Highway 138 and one on Aug. 22, 2011 at a Shell station at 1800 Ga. Highway 138. They were also charged for allegedly pumping gasoline into gas cans.
Morton and her family opened and operated the TGS Kidz day care on 2360 Old Covington Highway, also formerly called TGS Christian Ministries. In the January 2011 application letter to the county, Morton was described as the head of the institution.
When reached by phone Friday, Morton said she was no longer involved with the day care but was still administered TGS Christian Ministries. Niketa Graves is listed as the TGS Kidz administrator on recent Bright from the Start reports.
The application for a special-use permit from the county drew controversy when county planning and zoning staff recommended against granting the permit but the Board of Commissioners approved the permit in a 2-1 vote in 2011.
Morton’s daughter Glenda, also formerly listed as the administrator for TGS Kidz, said in 2011, “All we’re trying to do is provide quality child care for children. We’ve been in this ministry for over 26 years.”
Morton said back in 2011, “At the end of the day, these were allegations that were written up. When Bright from the Start came out, none of these were substantiated. We are accredited world quality. We’re a licensed entity… We go above and beyond the call of expectations to provide quality care.”
The special-use permit was recently granted approval again by the Conyers-Rockdale Planning Commission at their May meeting.