On Sunday April 29, 2012 I attended Kango Play Center located at 1565 Jefferson Rd. in the town of Henrietta, N.Y. with my three children ages 3, 8 and 10 years old, and my 11 year old niece.
My 3 year old daughter was physically assaulted by another child who placed her hands around my daughters neck and was choking her. Thankfully I was able to see my daughter was in distress and was having trouble breathing, and I yelled "Stop!" to get the child to stop choking my daughter, whose face was turning red. The child then pushed my daughter down face first.
After taking my scared daughter in my arms and making sure she was ok, I asked a young Kango staff member to please locate the child's parents and inform them of what the child had just done to my little girl. The staff member who at first seemed reluctant to assist me, then proceeded to locate the child's parents.
After locating the child's guardian, and as I was attempting to explain to them that my daughter had been assaulted, a family member of the child, by the name of "Steve" who was under the influence of drugs, came up to me and threatened my life, telling me "You are dead. Watch your back" as he used his index and middle finger and motioned to his eyes then pointed to me, indicating that he would be watching me.
I immediately called 911 and explained to the operator that my life had just been threatened. I alerted a young Kango Play Center Manager that this man "Steve" had just threatened me. I pointed the suspect out to the Kango staff member and I informed the staff member that I had just called the police and that they were on their way.
Despite me having identified this suspect who had threatened my life as I was holding my little girl in my arms, Kango staff allowed the suspect to leave the premises to evade the authorities.
In fact, Kango staff assisted this individual by removing the wristbands which are given to everyone who pays to get into Kango.
As a member of Kango Play Center, and a father, I could not believe that Kango staff would actually help someone who just threatened my life to leave the establishment.
I later called to speak to the owner of Kango Play Center, Mr. Andrew Curwin. A woman who identified herself as "Lisa", the owner's wife, and herself, co-owner of Kango Play Center, informed me that I would have to speak to her husband, as he runs the Play Center part of the business, and she runs the Pre School part. (Apparently, Kango Play Center also runs a Pre School at the 1565 Jefferson Rd. location).
After being switched to different extensions and prompted to leave a message for Mr. Curwin, I called back and asked to speak to Lisa again. A man who identified himself as "Paul" who stated that he was a Manager asked me what it was regarding. I explained to him that I needed to speak to the owner regarding an incident in which my 3 year old daughter was assaulted and my life was threatened. Paul then put me on hold, and after about a 10 minute wait, he came back on the phone and stated to me "Mr. Curwin is not in right now but he asked me to have you leave your name and number". I then asked Paul, what he meant that Mr. Curwin was not in yet he asked him to take my name and number? Paul then stuttered, and said to me "Sir, he is in but he doesn't want to speak to you".
As a father of a beautiful little girl, I couldn't believe that after my daughter had been had almost been strangled, and my own life had been threatened by someone who was under the influence of drugs, and who despite being on drugs, was allowed to come into a place full of young children but then was actually assisted by the Kango staff, to be able to leave the premises before the authorities arrived.... And Mr. Curwin, the owner of Kango Play Center didn't want to speak to me?
I then informed Paul, to let Mr. Curwin know that I would be going public with my incident, and letting other parents know about my experience at Kango Play Center.
Kango Play Center is NOT safe. There is NO security whatsoever.
Kango Play Center staff mostly consists of young, high school aged employees.
If an adult who was under the influence of drugs was able to enter an establishment full of young children, threaten a parent and then enabled by Kango staff to leave and avoid the police, then what else can happen at Kango Play Center?
If this individual would have had a gun I would hate to think what could have happened in an establishment full of children.
Avoiding and then refusing to speak to a parent after my life was threatened, says alot about Kango Play Center and it's owner, Mr. Andrew Curwin.
And to make matters worse, once the police arrived, because of my work as a filmmaker, writer and activist against police misconduct, Monroe County Sheriff's deputies Phil Genier and Shawn Jarrold were extremely unprofessional, and were refusing to locate the suspect and charge him.
Despite me being the victim, and having called 911 for assistance, I was instead treated like a criminal. I was held against my will in my own car and not allowed to exit my vehicle. Only after I contacted my attorney and asked for a superior officer, did they finally take a report.
I have filed an internal affairs complaint with the Monroe County Sheriff's department.