Irish nanny accused of assaulting baby
A 34-year-old Irish nanny living in Quincy, just south of Boston, has been accused of fatally injuring a one-year-old baby in her care on the infant's first birthday.
Aisling McCarthy Brady, who is originally from Co Cavan but is understood to have been living in the US for more than 10 years, pleaded not guilty today in Cambridge District Court in Massachusetts to a charge of assault and battery. She was released on $500,000 (€376,000) cash bail.
The charge is expected to be upgraded to murder when the state medical examiner’s office completes its autopsy of the child, Katherine Folger, assistant district attorney for Middlesex County, told the court.
According to prosecutors, police in Cambridge arrived at a house on Ash Street around 4.40pm on January 14th to find an unresponsive infant who was breathing but unconscious.
The child was brought to Children’s Hospital in Boston where she was found to be suffering from subdural and retinal haemorrhaging and cerebral swelling.
She was also suffering from “multiple healing bone fractures”, the Middlesex District Attorney’s office said on Monday.
The infant, named as Rehma Sabir, was pronounced brain dead on January 16th and subsequently died. Ms McCarthy Brady was arrested yesterday and charged.
The district attorney said that Ms McCarthy Brady had “sole custody of and contact with the child during the time that she sustained injuries consistent with abusive head trauma.”
Ms Folger told the court that doctors had already found evidence that the child had an existing fracture in her left arm and leg, and that there were significant signs of prior injuries.
The accused’s defence attorney, Melinda Thompson, said that her client has been a nanny for 13 years and never had any incidents, according to local news reports on the case.
The child had travelled all over the world and that “anything could’ve happened” during those visits overseas, Ms Thompson told the court.
Ms McCarthy Brady’s defence lawyer described the infant's death as “an unspeakable tragedy” but said that her client was not responsible.
“This shaking did not happen,” Thompson said. “There is more to this story than we have here.”
The lawyer told the court that the child’s parents had taken the infant on trips to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia recently, even though a doctor had advised against it.
Ms Thompson told the court that her client was so close to the family that she spent hours with them while the infant was being cared for in hospital and that she had “mourned this child with the family”.
Assistant district attorney Ms Folder told the court that on the day police were called, the infant – described as a “healthy, normal, well baby” – woke around 8am in the family home on Ash Street in Cambridge.
The child’s mother left home around 9.30am leaving the infant in the sole care of Ms McCarthy Brady. The child napped from about 10am to 1.15pm. At 4.42pm the nanny called 911 and asked for medical assistance.
Prosecutors said that Immigration and Customs Enforcement had been informed of the arrest of Ms McCarthy Brady. She was ordered to surrender her passport.
A spokesman for the Irish Embassy in Washington said that the Department of Foreign Affairs was aware of the case and that the Irish Consulate in Boston was ready to provide assistance to her family if requested.
Ms McCarthy Brady is due back in court on February 22nd.