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Baby sitter charged with abuse after suspicious dad installed camera

December 4, 1997

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. (AP) _ A father used a hidden camera to catch a baby sitter allegedly mistreating his 2-year-old girl, and the woman has been charged with sodomy and sexual abuse.

Maria Darrosa, 28, was ordered held without bail Wednesday after she pleaded innocent before Nassau District Court Judge Michael S. Alonge. She could face 12 1/2 to 25 years in prison if convicted on both counts.

Police said the child’s father installed a video camera in his family’s den last weekend after a neighbor claimed that the baby sitter had verbally abused the child at a playground.

Nassau County Police Inspector Kenneth McGoff said the child’s parents watched the first tape on Monday night and found nothing unusual. But the next day was a different story.

``He once again reviewed the tape and he was aghast at what he saw,″ McGoff said. ``He had videotape of his daughter being sexually abused.″

The parents, who were not identified by police because of the crime’s sexual nature, first called Rockville Centre village police, who in turn summoned Nassau detectives.

The baby sitter was arrested at her apartment, where she lived with her husband. They have no children but Darrosa’s lawyer said she was seven months pregnant.

The arrest comes on the heels of the recent trial of English au pair Louise Woodward, convicted in the death of an 8-month-old boy in her care. The case ignited national debate about the use of nannies for young children.

In Charlotte, N.C., last year, a nanny was convicted of child abuse after a camera hidden behind a Christmas tree filmed her stifling a crying baby with a blanket.

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