'Nanny cam' video leads to infant caretaker Dawn Richards' arrest

The caretaker, Dawn Richards, 47, of Plantation, was hired through a website by a Pembroke Pines couple who police declined to identify.

Police say the footage showed Richards grabbing, pulling and striking the 7-month-old boy several times.

In a short video clip released by police Thursday, a woman can be seen sitting on a living room floor among pillows and baby gear. She picks up a baby whose face is blurred on the video and attempts to feed the child a bottle before slapping the baby's left arm with an open hand.

No injuries were physically observed on the baby's body, police said in a report that describes Richards' May 29 arrest.

She was released on bond for the felony offense and has pleaded not guilty.

"It's my understanding, and I believe, that this woman has no prior criminal history and has apparently been an upstanding citizen and is a good person, from what I can see," Richards' lawyer Glenn Roderman said Thursday. "I intend to represent her to the best of my professional ability."

Roderman said his client, who is from Jamaica, "has a long career in child care in her home country. She has some medical issues, but seemed like a very nice person and it seems totally out of character for her, if there is any truth to this at all."

The couple hired Richards through an online agency called Care.com, which still had her job posting on its site until it was contacted Thursday for this story.

"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," Care.com spokeswoman Meredith Robertson said by email.

The Waltham, Mass. company's website has a disclaimer that reads in part: Care.com does not employ, recommend or endorse any care provider … nor is it responsible for the conduct of any care provider… each individual is solely responsible for selecting an appropriate care provider.

She said Care.com had reached out to law enforcement and Pembroke Pines Police Sgt. Darryl Curtiss said emails were exchanged Thursday.

For parents considering whether to hire a nanny instead of using a daycare facility or preschool, Elisa Cramer, with Florida's Department of Children and Families in West Palm Beach, said they "encourage parents to be vigilant, to check references, to observe caregivers while they're working with children, and to trust their instincts."

Parents may want to check employment histories and criminal backgrounds.

FamilyCentral.org says in-home care can be more flexible for working parents but it's unregulated, unlicensed and can be more expensive.

You can watch the "Nanny Cam" video here : http://sunsent.nl/MMVZ8H