Daycare owner in court over alleged parking dispute
JAMAICA PLAIN, Mass. (WHDH) -- An alleged dispute over parking put a daycare owner against a parish.
Linda Chery-Valentin is accused of swearing at a priest and trying to run down parishioners with her car.
"She came running out of her daycare area screaming and yelling and cursing at us," said one man. "We saw her coming at us. We all ran in different directions to get out of the way. I wouldn't be sitting here now if I didn't jump out of the way."
“Only missed hitting them because they jumped out of the way. They reported she exited her motor vehicle and screamed at them, saying quote ‘I’m going to own this church when I’m done with you,’” said prosecutor Helle Sachse.
The incident happened May 6 at Our Lady of Cedars of Lebanon in Jamaica Plain. Chery-Valentin claims the church denied her visitors entrance to her daycare’s open house. The daycare rents space from the church and is located on its property.
But the church said they knew nothing of the event. The pastor, Father George, told 7News the suspect’s event coincided with two Sunday masses and an annual Mother’s Day breakfast and baptism.
"I didn't want to stay in the house. I had to escape from the back door. It ruined my day, it ruined the baptism. It's unfortunate," said Rev. Georges El-Khalli, Our Lady of the Cedars of Lebanon.
The pastor said that’s when Chery-Valentin came knocking on his door.
“The defendant went to his office and was screaming to him,” said Sachse.
Chery-Valentin’s lawyer says the incident has nothing to do with parking.
“At the end of the day you’ll see this is all about money,” said defense lawyer Douglas Martin. “They want to displace her and take over her business, that’s what’s going on here.”
Defense lawyers refused to address questions about the alleged assault.
Chery-Valentin did not have to post bail after her arraignment on Tuesday. She was told she has to stay away from parishioners, the church and the reverend’s home, but she is allowed to run her daycare.
"I'd like this to go away very quickly so I can focus on my family and the kids," said Chery-Valentin. "I love what I do, I love what I do. I am a solid pillar in this community."
Chery-Valentin is facing criminal charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.