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Protesters rally at Billings daycare after employee charged with sexual assault of minor

Family says abuse has happened for years
Daycare assault protesters
Posted at 10:32 PM, May 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-17 10:45:52-04

BILLINGS — Protesters gathered outside a Billings West End daycare Monday, calling for the business to be shut down after an employee was charged with felony sexual assault of a 3-year-old who attended the daycare.

Luis Contreras, 51, pleaded not guilty Friday in Yellowstone County District Court on one count of felony sexual assault. Court documents list Contreras as an employee at the daycare since 2016.

Luis Contreras
Luis Contreras, 51, pleaded not guilty to charges of felony sexual assault against a 3-year-old girl.

But some protesters said it's just the latest in a long string of complaints involving Contreras and the daycare’s owner, Kim Redding.

"Five years ago, we tried to convict him of molesting my youngest niece," Desiree Contreras-Sutton said. "She was 13 at the time. She was the first to come forward."

"There was a lot of physical abuse in my relationship with him growing up," said Adrianna Contreras, one of Luis' daughters. "When I found out what he did, it didn’t surprise me."

Adrianna said time spent with Contreras and Redding at Kids 'R' Us, another daycare Redding managed in the Billings Heights, was a nightmare.

"I used to live in that house part-time, me and my little sister," Adrianna said. "He would pull (the kids') hair, or he'd get mad at them for crying and hit them."

Daycare assault protest sign
A boy holds a sign at a protest Monday in front of a West End daycare after an employee was charged with sexual assault of a minor.

Kids 'R' Us came under fire in November 2018 when a six-month old was left alone in the building after the staff left, turned off the lights, and locked the doors. The baby’s mother showed up in a panic, and eventually Redding returned to let her in. The baby was okay.

Four years later, Redding is still operating at the new West End location, and Adrianna believes the physical abuse has continued.

"My daughter got a broken arm there," said Chris Ness. "Luis was the one that broke her arm - he said that he fell on her or something. After that, Adrianna had reached out to me and said, 'Pull her from there because he did a lot of bad things to us.'"

Ness’ daughter attended the daycare in 2021 and 2022. He eventually pulled her out of the facility because of concerns about Contreras. But the group believes Redding isn’t innocent.

"In my opinion, there’s no way that she couldn’t have known," Adrianna said. "There were a lof of things that she saw and didn't do anything about."

Daycare assault protest
A protester holds a sign that reads, 'We demand justice. Save our children,' outside of a West End daycare Monday after a daycare employee was charged with sexual assault of a minor.

We tried to contact Redding, but our calls and emails have not been returned.

"I can’t believe (the daycare) hasn’t been shut down," Contreras-Sutton said. "Sexual assault against children, and this daycare is still open. There are still children that are there. It is obscene to me that it is even open."

We also attempted to contact the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services, which oversees childcare licensing, but have not heard back yet.

Contreras was released after posting a $50,000 bond and is forbidden from contact with minors or anywhere minors gather. According to court documents, he told investigators this was all a misunderstanding and he was just checking to see if a child’s diaper was wet and needed changing.

None of that is enough for Adrianna.

"It's scary because I have a daughter now," she said, "and she’s young enough where she's in his frame of what he likes I guess, so it’s hard because I don’t know where he’s at."

Adrianna Contreras
Adrianna Contreras says her father Luis Contreras physically abused her and her sisters for years.

Contreras was back in court Monday on a separate felony charge of assault with a weapon, stemming from an incident May 6 at a trailer court on 1926 Mullowney Lane. He pleaded not guilty and was released on an additional $25,000 bond. Dates for his next court appearances had not been set as of Monday.