Some standing by accused preschool owner

Posted at: 10/29/2012 10:28 PM
Updated at: 10/30/2012 12:47 AM
By: Joe Vigil, KOB Eyewitness News


Dermot Newman, the owner of Peppermint Stick preschool in Albuquerque, is accused of criminal sexual penetration of a minor.

Police said the alleged victim was a child at the school. The allegations would send a chill through most parents, but some said the allegations are completely false.

"It hurts to know that people are saying these things about him because he's a wonderful person and wonderful man who would never hurt a child," Crystal Lara told KOB Eyewitness News outside the preschool Monday night. Lara is a former student at the school, has worked there and her two young kids attended the school.

Lara and others formed a prayer circle in the street in support of Newman and his family. "We're going to stand behind him and we're going to get his name cleared and we're going to get this place back open for more kids. Because he has been helping raise thousands of kids since 1980 and it's not going to stop," said Lara.

The Children Youth and Families Department has suspended the preschool's license and temporarily closed the facility. It is unknown how long it will stay closed.