Drunk nanny whipped baby with towel to stop her from crying, deputies say

State / Regional
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – A nanny was arrested for child abuse after a couple came home to find both of their young children with significant bruises.

Sarai Rivera, 25, was arrested for child abuse on Tuesday, according to an affidavit.  

Deputies said the 2-year-old boy and 8-month-old girl were admitted to Sarasota Memorial Hospital after their parents returned home from a date and saw bruising on the boy’s neck and bruises on the girl’s face and under her chin.

When questioned about the bruises, Rivera allegedly told the parents that the boy had thrown a toy at the girl and that the girl had been kissing the boy too hard and gave him a “hickey” by accident. 

“She indicated that she may have pinched or may have kissed the child too hard on the child’s neck. She even indicated that it may have resulted in a hickey,” said SCSO spokeswoman Kaitlyn Perez.

The children later underwent medical examinations at the Child Protection Center in Sarasota.

A forensic nurse told detectives that the bruising under the girl’s chin was consistent with an intentional grab and that the bruise on her ear was likely from a grab or a pinch.  The boy’s bruises were also consistent with a pinch. The injuries were not accidental in nature, the nurse said.

Rivera later told deputies she was adjusting medications to cope with her depression, which sometimes caused her to “snap” and become “irritable.” She also admitted to drinking rum after the couple left for the date and being intoxicated, the affidavit states. 

“She was intoxicated, she was drinking rum specifically on the night she should’ve been watching these children,” said Perez.

Rivera said the baby started screaming and crying and she couldn’t get her to stop, so she grabbed her by the chin out of frustration. Then she whipped her in the face with a towel twice, according to an affidavit. 

Rivera said the boy’s bruises were from a tickle game they were playing and that she may have pinched him or sucked his neck too hard, deputies said. 

“Our detectives are parents themselves, so when we have to investigate crimes involving children it becomes very difficult,” said Perez.

Rivera was arrested on two counts of child abuse. She also met the criteria for a Baker Act, which was completed. 

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