Child abuse investigation of Chattanooga migrant shelter involves fired staff member, allegation of kissing

Staff photo by Troy Stolt / Redemption to the Nations is housing unaccompanied migrant children who arrived at the border in recent weeks in an unused former Tennessee Temple dormitory that the church leases.

The allegation of child abuse at the Chattanooga shelter housing unaccompanied migrant children involved a former staff member allegedly kissing a child who was then staying at the facility, according to an inspection report obtained by the Times Free Press.

The Tennessee Department of Children's Services performed an unannounced inspection of the Chattanooga shelter on June 3, the same day DCS Commissioner Jennifer Nichols sent a letter, along with three other state commissioners, to Tennessee House Government Operations Committee Chairman John Ragan saying the state did not have information or the authority to otherwise investigate the Chattanooga shelter.

During the June 3 inspection, employees of the state reviewed seven personnel files and interviewed six of the 62 children staying at the facility. According to the report, all six children said staff treated them well and said they felt safe around other children and staff.