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A former Little Husky Learning Center childcare administrator is facing a first-degree theft charge in Fayette County District Court.

Magistrate Larry F. Woods on Friday summoned Jessica Lynn Bratten, 39, of Oelwein, to a hearing to answer the charge at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 26, at the Oelwein Police Department.

While employed as the Little Husky Childcare director, Bratten wrote personal checks and used her Little Husky Childcare card to pay her Alliant Energy bill, property taxes, purchase items from Fareway Foods and make online purchases, according to the criminal complaint filed Thursday. Between the dates of Oct. 24, 2018, and Sept. 30, Bratten is accused of stealing $10,424.

First-degree theft is a class C felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine between $1,000 and $10,000.

An investigation that led to this charge was launched after Josh Ehn, who chairs the LHLC Childcare Board, found an irregularity during a review of financial documents in October, according to a news release issued Thursday by LHLC. Ehn worked with the Fayette County Attorney’s Office to issue subpoenas for specific documents.

Bratten had been employed at the center as the childcare director from August 2018 until the LHLC Childcare Board of Directors dismissed her in October.

The LHLC Board has appointed Shelly Vawter as the new childcare director.

The Little Husky Childcare Center leases Oelwein School District space in the Little Husky Learning Center next to the high school. The school district is not financially or organizationally tied to the LHLC and its childcare center.