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Mountain Home day care worker charged with child sex crime; day care operator's license suspended

Posted: 1:21 PM, Sep 13, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-13 16:29:54-04

MOUNTAIN HOME, Idaho — A Mountain Home day care center worker faces a felony charge of lewd conduct with a child younger the age of 16, after authorities say he inappropriately touched a child at the center. And now, State officials have suspended the license of the day care operator.

Eric Eugene Junge, 35, was booked into the Elmore County Jail on Wednesday.

According to court documents, a report was filed with the Mountain Home Police Department on September 5th by a parent whose daughter said she had been “molested by her day care worker” at Mickey and Minnie’s Playhouse at 435 East 2nd North Street in Mountain Home.

Wednesday, the female victim told a Children at Risk Evaluation Services (CARES) interviewer in Boise that she had sat on Junge’s lap at the day care center at which time Junge inappropriately touched her.

The victim reportedly told investigators the touching “felt gross.”

“We are not ruling out the possibility of more victims,” said Lt. Ty Larsen of the Mountain Home Police Department. “This is still an active investigation.”

Junge made his initial court appearance Thursday in Elmore County. Bond was set $250,000. The court issued a no contact order, prohibiting Junge from having any contact with the victim.

Junge’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 26th and 4 pm.

As a result of the incident, the Idaho Health and Welfare Department –- which licenses day care centers in the state –- has issued a summary suspension to Mickey and Minnie's Playhouse effective Sept. 12, which means it cannot operate, according to Health and Welfare spokesperson Niki Forbing-Orr.

In the letter addressed to Jane Junge, the day care center’s owner, Idaho Health and Welfare stated, “The alleged criminal activity threatening the health or safety of a child appears to have occurred while the child was attending or on the premises of Mickey and Minnie’s Playhouse …” and that the owner did not notify the Department of Eric Junge’s arrest, as required by law.

The operator can appeal the decision by filing a written request with the Department of Health and Welfare within 28 days from the date of notice.

It is unclear how Jane Junge and Eric Junge are related.

We reached out to the owner of Mickey and Minnie's Playhouse, but our messages were not returned. You can read the full suspension notice here.

(photo courtesy: Elmore County Jail)