BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A 27-year-old man has been sentenced to 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexual abuse of a minor, according to the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s office.

On November 27, 2016, after church service, a 4-year-old girl reported to her mother that Terrence Smalls, a volunteer in the daycare room of the Church of Nativity in Timonium, had abused her in the bathroom.

An investigation found that Smalls had encouraged the girl to go to the bathroom and then committed the abuse while the two were alone. The DNA of Smalls was identified from the body of the little girl.

In addition to being a volunteer at the daycare center of the Church of the Nativity, Smalls has worked as an aide at the play center at Pot Spring Elementary, the Ultimate Play Zone in Cockeysville, the Little Gym of Hunt Valley and as a teachers aide at Pot Springs Elementary School.

The Little Gym released the following statement:

“We were surprised and disheartened to hear the information about a member of our former staff. The Little Gym performs a thorough and in-depth background check on all employees and at the time it was conducted, the background check on Terrence Smalls came back without any reports.

While we cannot comment on the specifics of this incident, what I can tell you is that Mr. Smalls was a part-time employee from July 2016 until October of that year. During that time, he spent three months training with our staff and was never alone with any children. Mr. Smalls only worked one shift and had limited responsibilities and has not been employed or affiliated with The Little Gym since October 2016.

Our first priority is to ensure that we employ the most qualified employees to join our team. We are committed to creating a safe and nurturing learning environment.”

Smalls plead guilty to sexual abuse of a minor before Judge Jan Alexander. He will be on five years’ probation upon his release from prison.

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