Dawn Richards of Pembroke Pines, Florida was arrested after she was allegedly spotted abusing a child she was babysitting on a hidden surveillance camera, according to news reports. Richards, 47, was booked into Broward County Jail on a felony count of child abuse. She has since been released on undisclosed bail bond.
According to news reports, Richards was apprehended after an alleged incident in May where she abused a baby while on the job as a nanny. Richards was reportedly hired through Care.com, a website that connects caregivers for children and others with potential clients. When informed of the case by the press, a spokesperson from the site reportedly stated the following via email: “we have implemented a number of safety features, both human and technical, to help families find quality care providers, including tools such as background checks and our own additional security measures to help create a safe environment.” The site also specifies in its’ terms and conditions that “Care.com does not employ, recommend or endorse any care provider … each individual is solely responsible for selecting an appropriate care provider.” Richards, sources indicate, had never been arrested before she was charged this year and has a clean criminal record.
News reports state that the Pembroke Pines couple who hired Richards had a hidden surveillance camera in their home. The footage reportedly showed Richards pulling, grabbing, and slapping the couple’s 7-month old child several times. The couples’ identity and the identity of the child have not been released to the public. A piece of the video that police released on Thursday allegedly shows Richards feeding the couple’s baby from a bottle, then slapping the child’s arm for an unknown reason. The child evidently showed no physical signs of the abuse upon examination.
Following the allegations, local law enforcement officials have encouragd parents seeking caregivers for their children to perform thourough checks on their own, calliing references and conducting interviews. Care.com is also reportedly working with local authorities.
Richards was not the only South Floridian accused of committing a crime on someone else’s property recently. On Tuesday, Melkis Crisostomo Fernandez was arrested after a local property owner accused him of dumping trash onto his property. Fernandez, 23, wa booked into Palm Beach County Jail on charges of tresspassing and aggravated assault with a firearm after the incident. It is not clear whether he has quailified for bail bond or retained a private criminal defense lawyer.
According to press reports, the trouble began at approximately 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday, when an unnamed local business owner allegedly saw Fernandez come onto his property and start dumping trash out of his car. The business owner reportedly confronted Fernandez, who allegedly claimed he had been picking mangoes (he was evidently holding mangoes) and refused to leave the premises. The owner claims he told Fernandez that he was going to call the police, but when he turned and started walking, Fernandez allegedly yelled that he was going to kill the businessowner. The owner then allegedly turned to see Fernandez holding a handgun. No one was hurt in the confrontation