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Babysitter charged with child abuse

Charges of child abuse can implicate very serious consequences, such as jail time and fines. In addition, some jurisdictions maintain a child abuse registry, where individuals convicted for this crime are not allowed to work with children again. Finally, there is also the social stigma and potential damage to one’s reputation and career that may result even if charges are later dropped or an individual is acquitted.

Care in observing these procedural considerations may have been necessary in the recent criminal proceeding involving a 22-year-old South Carolina babysitter. The young woman is accused of abusing the seven-month-old child in her care.

According to the child’s parents, they became suspicious when they noticed that their family dog acted protectively around their infant son when their babysitter would arrive. They decided to investigate, leaving a hidden iPhone on audio recording mode while they were away. According to the parents, the recording they made contains sounds of slapping and of their son crying in pain.

According to authorities, the babysitter confessed to charges of assault and battery when she was arrested. She agreed to a plea agreement where she will serve up to three years in prison and be listed on a child abuse registry.

The importance of due process may be even greater in child abuse criminal proceedings, due to the potential for prejudice. A criminal defendant is entitled to his or her day in court, to confront the witnesses and evidence presented, and to judgment by an unbiased jury. Without the help of a criminal defense attorney, however, an individual might be unaware of any violations.

Source: wnem.com, “Family dog sniffs out baby abuser - WNEM TV 5,” Harve Jacobs, Sept. 10, 2013

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