Cops: Nanny endangered baby with medicine
A nanny was arrested on charges of giving a potentially harmful dose of allergy medicine to a 4-month-old girl after the child's mother was alerted via a live video feed from a camera in the family's Laurel Hollow home.
The nanny, Anneliese Brucato, 48, of Plainview, was arrested Sunday and pleaded not guilty Monday in First District Court in Hempstead to charges of second-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child. Brucato was ordered held on $30,000 bond, or $15,000 cash. She is scheduled to be back in court Wednesday.
"We are very lucky the baby is fine," said Brucato's lawyer, Cary David Kessler of Jericho, after her arraignment.
Brucato had come with glowing recommendations, said the infant's mother, who did not want her name published. "I definitely had trusted her," said the mother, 33.
Brucato had been working for the family for about a month before the incident Friday afternoon, the woman said. The mother said she had told Brucato about the video cameras in the home, which were installed before the nanny was hired. "I thought it would be more of a deterrent," she said of the cameras.
In court papers, she told police that while at work, she observed live video of Brucato giving her daughter a dose of what at the time was an unknown clear liquid from an eyedropper. She said she then called Brucato and asked what she was doing to her daughter.
Brucato replied " 'Nothing, I'm just wiping her mouth,' " the mother told police, according to the court papers. "I then left work and rushed home. I confronted the nanny and told her she was lying to me." Brucato later told the mother that she gave the medicine to the baby "to calm her down," police said.
The medicine, diphenhydramine, is an antihistamine in over-the-counter drugs such as Benadryl and a sedative in sleep aids such as Tylenol PM. Diphenhydramine "can cause serious side effects or death" in children under 4, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Brucato was seen on video removing the medicine bottle from her pants pocket, Nassau police spokesman Det. Lt. Kevin Smith said Monday.
"She had no right, no reason, to administer any medicine to this child," Smith said. "She's not a doctor. She's not a health care professional."
Smith said the family had surveillance footage cataloged on their computer, and a review by police determined Brucato had administered the medicine at least three other times.
Police are looking for other families for which Brucato worked in her 10 years as a nanny, to determine if she's done this in the past.
"At no time was the baby in distress," Smith said. He said the dosage the baby received had not been determined by police.
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