Friday, December 28, 2007

Nanny Cam caper captures cruel Canton caretaker -Cherokee County Collars

'Nanny cam' catches woman beating Canton toddler

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 12/28/07

A 23-year-old Rockmart woman was charged with cruelty to children in the first degree after parents of a 13-month old Canton boy filmed her with a "nanny cam."

The Cherokee County Sheriff's detectives arrested her Thursday.

Cherokee County Sheriff's Office
Constance Smith

In one hour of footage, Constance Smith was shown slapping the child in the face, pushing him to the ground and pinching him on the leg.

Sam Yaun, the boy's father, disguised the camera and microphone in a pair of speakers atop the television set in the living room. After viewing the video, he said, "I felt like throwing up. I felt sick. And my wife was hysterical."

Smith had been caring for the boy three days a week since September. She was released from the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center Thursday night on a $22,000 bond.

"We're pretty traumatized by the whole thing," Yaun said. "You can't trust anybody."

Yaun said he and his wife, Jessica, became suspicious because their son was "clingy" when she left the house in the morning.

All of his toys that made noise were turned off and a blanket he loved was left in the crib. They didn't notice any marks on his body, although after seeing the video they saw a bruise on his thigh.

Yaun, who works for a home theater company, said he encourages all parents with nannies or babysitters to set up a hidden camera.

"This is the first time we recorded her and it was for one hour, and that's what we got," Yaun said, "so I just hate to think what she may have been doing that we didn't know and we'll never know."

The Yauns had found Smith on a website.

"Her resume was awesome," Yaun said. "She had supposedly taken care of autistic children, Down syndrome children, hyperactive children."

He said they did a background check and checked three references who all gave Smith high marks.

"I feel like we covered our bases and were really careful about who we let into our house to care for our child," Yaun said. "The fact it's turned out this way is disheartening."

Yaun said that before his wife became suspicious, she wanted him to install a hidden camera "just out of curiosity" to see how Smith interacted with the child.

"I didn't do it," he said. "I told her that I felt really confident with her. It seemed like my son really liked her. I felt like we would be spying on her and didn't feel she deserved that."

Yaun said the video would not be released.

So buy a nanny cam/hidden camera and save a child.

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