Parents stunned at arrest of YMCA daycare worker

March 15, 2019 11:22 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC)- Parents retrieving children at the YMCA’s day care center on Lewis Street in Rochester were stunned at the news a former employee had been arrested and charged with trying to solicit sex from a 14 year old.

“That’s crazy.  That’s very crazy,” said Keith Dunniehigh of Rochester as he arrived to pick up his daughter.

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37-year-old Hashim McCullough was charged Friday with federal charges of attempted production of child pornography and enticement of a minor.

“I’m just shocked because I really interacted with him," said Felina Fraguada, a mother of eight whose five-year-old went to the daycare center.

“I gave him rides and stuff. Just to think that he’s that type of individual… It’s kind of disgusting.”

Prosecutors with the Department of Justice’s Western District of New York office accused McCullough of striking up an online relationship with what he believed was a 14-year-old girl in Rochester using the online alias “ucdamandatmademerich.”

The ostensible girl was actually an FBI special agent working undercover.  In their exchanges, a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office said the agent made it clear the fictional girl was 14-years-old and that McCullough continued the on line relationship, asking for naked pictures, sending naked pictures and talked about having sex.

According to prosecutors, McCullough suggested a rendezvous for sex and, on Friday, he went to a Brighton apartment complex expecting to meet the girl and was arrested there.

“I let my guard down,” said Fraguada. “I’m glad nothing happened. I’m a pretty good judge of character and I guess I wasn’t this time.”

A representative of the YMCA told News 10 NBC McCullough had been working there about two years and that investigators said the incident had no relation to the YMCA itself, or to any of the children cared-for there.

A statement from the YMCA released Friday said “This employee, who was terminated today, passed all background checks and has zero violations on file” and also that “the safety, security and well-being of children and members in our care is our No. 1 priority.”

“I’m just glad he’s gone. That I can say,” Dunniehigh said.

McCullough made an initial appearance before a U.S. Magistrate judge and was ordered held until a detention hearing on March 21.

The Department of Justice asked that anyone with more information on this case contact the Bivona Child Advocacy Center at 585 935-7800.


Charles Molineaux

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