Rep. Hakeem criticizes closed door hearing on Baptiste license

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) – A Tennessee administrative law judge has denied public access to an informal hearing regarding the license suspension of a shelter for immigrant children after one of the employees was arrested following abuse allegations.

The Times Free Press reports that Judge Phillip R. Hilliard handed down his decision on Wednesday over objections from attorneys representing Baptiste Group.

The shelter argues that the proceedings should be open to the public and media.

But the judge said the state had an obligation to ensure certain records remained private.

Earlier this month, the nonprofit’s license was suspended following allegations that child abuse had occurred and a teenage boy had run away from the facility.

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CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – A State Representative is not happy with the handling of the suspension of the Baptiste Group, the organization who provided child care for the migrant facility in Chattanooga.

The Baptiste Group has been suspended from providing child care at the facility following the arrest of a worker for allegedly kissing a 17 year old under her care.

Tennessee lawmakers decided to suspend their license.

The Baptiste Group held a hearing to appeal this ruling.

The hearing and all meetings regarding the incident and suspension have been closed to the public, the media and anyone else not directly relevant to the case.

“The state administration and others have decided to have a meeting behind closed doors which is in total opposition to the committee that was put in place. So if there isn’t transparency, it leads one to believe what is it you’re trying to hold back? What is it you don’t want the public to know?”

Local legislators on both sides of the aisle have called for more transparency on the handling of migrant minors in Chattanooga.

Categories: Chattanooga, Local News, Regional News, State News-Tennessee