A Massachusetts university student was charged on 1 April with sexually abusing two young boys at the on-campus day-care centre he worked at.

The Bridgewater State University student, who was identified as 21-year-old Kyle Patrick Loughlin of Wrentham, is charged with two counts of child rape and three counts of aggravated indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J Cruz said in a statement.

The Boston Globe reported that the suspect was arraigned on 1 April in Brockton District Court and held without bail. Loughlin pleaded not guilty during his arraignment.

The Globe reported it was unclear whether the early childhood education major had a lawyer.

Eva Gaffney, a spokeswoman for Bridgewater State University, told reporters that the 21-year-old was arrested on 31 March by university police after they received complaints from the day-care centre's staff.

However, the Globe also reported that the administrator of the day-care centre did not immediately report Loughlin's alleged inappropriate behavior.

Staff told to keep abuse confidential

The administrator, Judith Ritacco, was suspended on 2 April she allegedly advised a teacher to keep the reports from a mother that her son had been molested as "confidential".

The mother made the complaint on 27 March, but Ritacco is reported to have told teacher Eileen Estudante that the accusation would be dealt with internally.

Campus police were only notified of the abuse allegations when Edudante told Ritacco they were legally mandated to report the incident.

The Globe reported that Estudante feared being fired if she reported the incident herself.

According to the Globe, teachers had found Loughlin's behavior with the children suspect for weeks. Ritacco allegedly told teachers to keep an eye on him and to keep him away from the children during nap time, but did nothing else.

The day-care centre administrator waited until 30 March to tell authorities at the State Department of Early Education and Care about the allegations against Loughlin.

He has since admitted to molesting the two boys, ages 4 and 5, police told reporters.

Abuse apologised by letter

Loughlin passed a criminal background check before he began working at the university's Children's Center, a university spokeswoman told the Globe. According to police, the university student worked at the centre twice a week for a total of seven hours.

Teachers reportedly witnessed Loughlin spending a lot of time with one of the victims, forcing one teacher to ask Loughlin to head to the kitchen to separate him from the victim.

The victim's mother did not know he had been abused by Loughlin until he asked her to tickle his bottom "like Kyle does it", the Globe reported.

According to police, "Kyle stated he didn't start touching children until recently, and it 'comes from a place of love'."

Loughlin apparently showed remorse for his actions and agreed to write a letter of apology to the parents of the two boys, CBS Boston reported.

Loughlin is set to appear for a dangerousness hearing on 6 April.