PHOENIX (CBS Local) — A couple in Arizona claims the nanny they hired through the “nanny finder” website Sittercity abused their toddler on the first day she was left alone with their children.
Kevin and Melissa Lange of Phoenix said they turned to the Chicago-based website when they were looking for a replacement for their longtime nanny. They chose a woman named Jacqueline Edens, who stated she had worked as a pediatric nurse in the past, according to CBS affiliate KPHO.
“She carried herself very well. She was extremely professional,” Melissa told KPHO.
The Langes say Edens shadowed their outgoing nanny for a week and everything seemed fine. But they allege something went wrong on her first day alone with their two sons.
“When I got home both my boys were crying. My youngest, Evan, was hysterically crying and shaking. He was shivering. As I got closer, I noticed what looked like rug burns all over his face and cuts,” Melissa said.
Kevin told the station that surveillance video of their driveway revealed what he believes caused his child’s injuries.
“It shows [Edens] grab him, pick him up by one arm and with just one arm, flings him in the air. So he’s airborne,” he said. “I have security video. I have pictures – still frames. She just throws him into the garage.”
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Edens told police she fainted, hit her head on the day of the incident and that the toddler had fallen down while trying to pick up a toy fire truck, KPHO reported.
Police investigated and referred the case to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office with a recommendation of one count of child abuse. No charges have been filed against Edens at this time.
The Langes said they learned Edens’ nursing license had been revoked in November after the Texas nursing board wrote that she “exhibited signs of impaired behavior while on duty.” A Phoenix police report also said she failed to show up for work for her previous employer and had issues with alcohol.
“The website didn’t pick up on it. And that’s what blows me away,” Kevin said. “If they had run a simple background check on her, they would’ve seen that she was she was not a pediatric nurse. She used to be. But her license was revoked.”
In a statement issued to KPHO, Sittercity said all caregiver identities are authenticated and new caregivers are screened against a sex offender database. The company said it offers the ability for families and caregivers to purchase background checks and motor vehicle records checks.
“As a part of our recommended screening process, we encourage parents to run background checks immediately before hiring a caregiver to ensure that the data is recent and accurate,” the statement says. “In this case, neither the family nor the sitter ran a background check through the Sittercity website.”
But the Lange’s attorney says companies like Sittercity owe their customers more than that.
“They can say whatever they want to. They will say that they don’t have responsibility. In my opinion, they do have a responsibility,” said Grant Woods, who is also a former Arizona attorney general.