INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — A Lee’s Summit man is heading to prison after admitting to sex crimes at a Lee’s Summit day care.

Joseph Hammerly, 21, admitted to one count of statutory sodomy and two counts of sexual misconduct involving a child under the age of 15. Following the plea, a judge sentenced him to 9 years in prison.

Hammerly worked at his mother’s Lee’s Summit day care called Little Learner.

Prosecutors charged Hammerly in 2019. Court records say a child at the daycare told another teacher that Hammerly took her to a bathroom and allegedly forced her to perform a sex act. That teacher immediately told the manager who informed the girl’s parents. Her parents then called Lee’s Summit police.

In an interview with the girl in 2019, detectives learned Hammerly allegedly told her not to tell anyone about the interaction and that it was a surprise only she knew about. She also said Hammerly gave her candy afterwards.

A police detective reviewed surveillance footage that was consistent with the little girl’s story, but there wasn’t a camera inside the bathroom, court records say.

When police interviewed the manager, she said she told Hammerly’s mother, Emily, about the alleged abuse. According to the manager, Emily told her to “redirect (the girl) and tell her we don’t talk like that.”

Court documents say Hammerly came to Little Learner the next day and worked his entire shift while the little girl was present.

Emily Hammerly is also charged in connection with the case. Prosecutors charged her with child endangerment and failure to report child abuse. Her trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 5, 2022.

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