Thursday, May 31, 2012

World's Worst Nannies

Babysitter Jennifer Duran Martinez, 35, is being held without bail on suspicion of child abuse homicide. On Thursday, September 22, Martinez called 911 to report that 4-month-old Kaysen Calhoun, a child she was babysitting in her home, was coughing up blood. The boy was rushed to the hospital, where he died on Saturday. Murray, UT., police allege that Martinez admitted shaking the baby when he would not stop crying.

A 24-year-old babysitter was charged with two counts of felony assault and reckless endangerment for intentionally burning the feet of 2-year-old Christian Cail with scalding bathwater, causing second- and third-degree burns. Chasity Pasinello, pregnant at the time, was watching the child in her Waterford, N.Y., apartment when the October, 2007, incident occurred. Pasinello, who had watched Christian before, pleaded guilty to recklessly causing injury to a child under 11 and was sentenced to one to three years in prison. The 2-year-old recovered after being treated at a hospital specializing in burns.

Jimena Barreto, a nanny who cared for the children of wealthy families, was convicted on two counts of second-degree murder and sentenced to 30 years to life in state prison for the hit-and-run deaths of 10-year-old Troy Pack and his sister Alana, 7, in Danville, California. According to prosecutors, Barreto, 46, who had three drunken-driving convictions prior to the October 26, 2003 incident, was under the influence of alcohol, Vicodin, and muscle relaxants when she ran off the road and struck the children with her Mercedes Benz. After the crash, Barreto fled, but was arrested in San Jose two days later. On an emotionally charged day for parents Bob and Carmen Pack, the jury found Barreto guilty of leaving the scene of a fatality and DUI in addition to the second-degree murder counts.

Daniella Ruiz, 27, maintained her innocence throughout her murder trial for the 2006 shaking death of 5-month-old Brandon Zamora, a child she was babysitting in Provo, Utah. The mother of four claimed that the baby was asleep when he was brought to her, and later became pale and unresponsive. After deliberating for 11 hours, the jury found Ruiz guilty of child abuse homicide, a second-degree felony, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years. Despite pleas from Ruiz, Judge David Mortensen ruled that the case warranted a penalty harsher than probation and sentenced her to one to 15 years in prison. Defense attorney Shelden Carter is attempting to get a new trial for Ruiz.

In Lower Paxton Township, PA, a Brazilian nanny faces a minimum of 10 to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to the third-degree murder of her own son. On August 7, 2008, while living with a host family, Ana Amelia Santos Cuoco gave birth in her basement bedroom. According to police, the 24-year-old wrapped the baby in a blanket and a plastic bag, suffocating him. The host family found the body the following day. In exchange for her guilty plea, which also included abuse of a corpse and concealing the death of a child, prosecutors agree to not seek a first-degree murder conviction against Cuoco.

Before hiring 61-year-old Cheryl Ann White to baby-sit his 5-month-old daughter Caroline, father Wesley Locklair installed a nanny cam in his Murrells Inlet, S.C., home. After White's first day of babysitting the child, Locklair watched the VHS tape and saw White shaking Caroline repeatedly, placing her hand over the crying baby's mouth, jerking her around by her feet and arms, and then spanking the child. Locklair immediately turned the six-hour tape over to Horry County police, who charged White with aggravated assault and battery and child neglect. White pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to 10 years in prison on each charge, which was later reduced to five years probation and an order to register with the South Carolina Department of Social Services' child abuser registry.

A Broussard, Louisiana, babysitter was found guilty of negligent homicide for the 2005 death of 11-month-old Lane Leger, who died of a head injury while in her care. Jurors heard the testimony of medical experts, who said the fatal injury resulted from adult force. After being denied an appeal, 26-year-old Katie Savoy began serving her five year sentence.

19-year-old English au pair Louise Woodward was hired by Sunil and Deborah Eappen to care for their eight-month-old son Matthew at their Newton, Mass., home. While watching Matthew on February 4, 1997, Woodward became irritated with his crying, and, according to prosecutors, shook him and hit his head on a hard surface. Matthew died four days later at a Boston hospital. X-Rays revealed a fractured skull, subdural hematoma, bleeding behind the eyes, and a partially-healed fractured wrist from a month prior. At trial, the prosecution presented Woodward as an irresponsible nanny, citing incidents in which she used a fake ID to enter nightclubs. After 26 hours of deliberation, the jury found Woodward guilty of second-degree murder. After the verdict, Woodward's lawyer filed motions which led to the murder conviction being reduced to involuntary manslaughter. Woodward's sentence of 15 years to life was reduced to time served, and she was released after spending 279 days in jail. Following her ordeal, Woodward returned to her native UK where she studied law and later became a dance teacher. 

In Edinburgh, Scotland, a city-council-registered child-minder stood trial, accused of murdering one-year-old Alexander Graham by shaking him and hitting his head against a hard surface in July 2001. Tina McLeod, 40, vehemently denied the charges, saying she found the baby on the living room floor while she was watching him in her own home. After the jury heard testimony from a Neuropathologist who said that shaking a one-year-old to death would be very difficult and that a fall may have caused the infant's death, they returned a verdict of "not proven," an option in Scotland's criminal justice system.

A Las Cruces, N.M., babysitter was arrested and charged with criminal sexual penetration of a minor for allegedly having sex with a 14-year-old boy she was caring for. When questioned by police, Annette Martinez, 25, said that she was in love with the boy and had had sex with him 40 times. Martinez also reportedly told detectives that she thought the boy was 16 and that she may be pregnant with his child. The teen, whose two siblings Martinez also babysat, claims the sex only occurred 10 times. In February 2009, Martinez pleaded no contest to 20 counts of the fourth-degree felony and was sentenced to nine years in prison. 

Nanny Jonathan Then was charged with raping and molesting three boys, aged eight to ten, according to prosecutors, who say Then took advantage of boys he was watching on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Then, 20, reportedly advertised his services on the Internet as a "live-in nanny, babysitter or an after-school parental assistant." The Early Childhood Education major was escorted out of his Hunter College classroom by police and brought to the station for questioning. Then, who has worked at the Dalton (pictured) and Trevor Day schools in Manhattan, and a New Hampshire summer camp, was released on $10,000 bail.

Texan William Webb, 27, had been babysitting an 8-month old in December 2011, when the mother returned to find her child was not responding normally. She took the child to the hospital, where they determined that the baby's blood alcohol level was .291, nearly four times the legal limit for adult drivers. There was a bottle of vodka on the coffee table, but how the child ingested the alcohol is not clear. The child recovered.
Webb was arrested in connection with the case last week and bonded out of the McLennan County Jail two days later. That day Webb reportedly violated a protective order by threatening his accuser, going to her home and slashing some tires, pouring gasoline around the house and setting it on fire. Luckily, it was too wet and the home didn't burn. Police caught up with Webb at his mother's house and arrested him for arson, criminal mischief, violation of a protective order and retaliation.

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