This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," February 25, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Look at this video, nightmare nanny busted. A nanny mistreats a pair of 7-month-old twin boys as their horrified mother watches the grisly sight on her office computer through her nannycam. The nanny picks up one baby by its arm, dangles one upside down by a tiny foot. And while she selfishly changes the TV channel for herself, she lets one fall between the couch cushions.
On the phone is Lindsay Addison, the mother of Bryce and Gavin. Welcome, Lindsay.
LINDSAY ADDISON, MOTHER OF TWINS: Hi, there.
VAN SUSTEREN: Lindsay, I guess the first question has to be how are your two babies?
ADDISON: The boys are excellent. Thank goodness nothing happened to them and they were not harmed.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Take me back to when you first hired a nanny. When was that?
ADDISON: She started with us on January 2.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did you spend time interviewing her? Did she seem like she'd be a good nanny?
ADDISON: She did. She had great references. Criminal background checked out fine. And then I spent several days with her showing her how to take care of the boys and would pop in unannounced and worked from home a couple times just to make sure things seem like they were going as they should, and they did.
VAN SUSTEREN: How old is she, about?
ADDISON: I think she's about 26.
VAN SUSTEREN: And you actually spoke to references where she had been a nanny before?
ADDISON: Yes, specifically for twins that were born prematurely, like our babies, and they had no issues. But I'm sure it was because they didn't have a camera.
VAN SUSTEREN: So you returned to work and — when did you go back to work?
ADDISON: I went back around November, but we had family keeping the boys until after Christmas.
VAN SUSTEREN: So when did she have her first day alone?
ADDISON: She — it was probably, like, the 6th, 7th of January, something like that, maybe the second week in January.
VAN SUSTEREN: What made you think you should buy a nannycam?
ADDISON: There were — things seemed too perfect. You know, I'd ask her questions and she had all the right answers all the time. Are you, you know, doing tummy (ph) time with the boys? Are they taking naps? Are they taking their bottles? You know, everything seemed too perfect. And we decided that, you know, Let's just get a camera and check in on them. It's not anything else, just my peace of mind that everything's fine. We never really suspected this, by any means. We wouldn't have left our children in her care.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. So when did you first turn on that nannycam at your office and observe what we've just seen?
ADDISON: February 11 was the first day that the camera was installed, and that was the day that all of this transpired in the course of five hours.
VAN SUSTEREN: And so when you first spotted this, what was your thought as you saw the behavior with your boys?
ADDISON: I didn't believe it at first. I'm, like, Am I really watching this? I'm in shock because this is something you see on TV. You know, you see it in the news. You don't see it happening in front of you to your own children in your own living room. But you know, co-workers came to my desk because I was screaming. And they saw it, too, and said, You need to go home and get rid of her. And like I said, I was just in shock and I was terrified, and I just wanted to get home and get to my boys as soon as possible and get her out of my house.
VAN SUSTEREN: And that's what you did.
ADDISON: I did. I rushed home as fast as I could and, you know, confronted her, told her we had a camera, had her on tape, she was doing things to the boys we didn't like. And at first, she didn't understand what I was talking about, so I demonstrated with a teddy bear what she was doing. And her response was just, basically, that that's how she always holds babies and it's not like they're fragile, it's not like their heads were bobbing around. They weren't hurt. Nobody's ever had a problem with me before, but — you know. Oh, well, we did, and she was caught.
VAN SUSTEREN: Have you gone to the police or asked whether they should investigate this as a possibility for criminal charges?
ADDISON: We did call the police and they did come out and review the videotape. They said it was a really tricky situation and it borderlined on abuse. Child protective services were called because she does have a child of her own. And she was also called in for questioning. And I really left it in their hands. They asked me what I wanted out of this, and really, I just don't want her to be able to do this to anybody else. And you know, if another child got hurt or even was killed at her hands of mistreating babies, I would have felt really guilty had I let her continue to keep children and not bring this to the attention of the authorities.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you have any reason to believe that she's not a nanny someplace else now?
ADDISON: I don't. She very well could be, but I really hope that she's not. But there's no way that I would ever know that.
VAN SUSTEREN: Lindsay, how much did you pay for this nannycam?
ADDISON: The nannycamera was $300. I bought it on line at a company called Securitysystems.com and installed it within five minutes and it was hooked up to our home computer. And you can view it from anywhere in the world.
VAN SUSTEREN: Lindsay, thank you, and good luck with your family.
ADDISON: Thank you very much.
VAN SUSTEREN: As Lindsay has just noted, the police have not filed any charges, at least not so far, against this nanny. But should she be charged with child abuse or negligence or some other crime?
Let's bring in our legal panel. In San Francisco is former San Francisco assistant DA Jim Hammer and former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney Michael Cardoza. And with me here in Washington are criminal defense attorneys Ted Williams and Bernie Grimm.
Jim, since you are the most recent to be a prosecutor, let me start with you. Looking at this video, if that were brought into your office, charges or no charges?
JIM HAMMER, FORMER ASST. SAN FRANCISCO DA: Under the law in that state, absolutely. You know, it's not the typical kind of child abuse where somebody hits a kid or something like that, but under the statute in this state, it says right here not just inflicting injury, Greta, but to quote it, "someone who creates or allows to be created a substantial risk of physical injury."
I ask anybody watching this right now, do you think if you carry a baby by the hand or let it roll off and hit its head on the coach, is there a substantial risk of physical injury? I say yes. She's guilty of a misdemeanor.
VAN SUSTEREN: Bernie, should she be charged?
BERNIE GRIMM, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I guess, as a parent, my first reaction was to have her executed. To me, on a much smaller scale, it was like watching that 9/11 tape when that plane went into the towers — on a much smaller scale. I'm not diluting that. But this — this is just — I mean, it's just scary. It's just scary
Children, as you know, the top of their skull is separated. It's not fused at birth. Plus, they're premature, which (INAUDIBLE) You drop a kid on its head, immediate brain damage. I mean, the risk of it — I mean, I'm just very troubled by it. But Jim's right, the best you're going to get out of this is a misdemeanor.
TED WILLIAMS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think it's outrageous, and I think what is troubling to me is that law enforcement did not charge her. I think, clearly, they should charge her at some stage here. Jim Hammer just read it. The North Carolina law says any person who creates or allows to be created a substantial risk of harm is guilty of a class one misdemeanor. That's clearly on this video a substantial risk of harm. She takes the child like he's a rubber doll — you don't even treat an animal the way this woman treated this child. And I think also someone should look closely at her own children to see what's happening with them.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, Michael, here's the thing that — you know, we're all scandalized by this tape and all think something should be done, but as it stands out, there's nothing to prevent this nanny from getting another nanny job, going to another town, getting a nanny job any place. I mean...
MICHAEL CARDOZA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That's what's really frightening about this. I mean, everybody is protecting her. Her face isn't shown. Her name hasn't been put out there. So what do we do, pass her along to another family? I think not.
What the police have to do, I think, is bring in the district attorney's office. Let them take a look at the case. Let child protective services come in. Just with the tape that you aired, is it close? Yes, it is close. But I do agree with the others there's substantial risk of harm because what Bernie is talking about is the (INAUDIBLE) on the head. And little infants' heads haven't closed. The skull hasn't closed up. And there could be great injury.
Now, if they have tape of this nanny slapping these children or hitting them on top of the head or dropping the infant, then absolutely...
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I think — I think...
CARDOZA: ... they should prosecute her. I don't think one police officer...
VAN SUSTEREN: I think you guys are hung up...
CARDOZA: ... should make this decision.
VAN SUSTEREN: I think you guys are hung up on the statute that we've been passing around. But you know, any unwanted touching, to begin with, is a simple assault. And I mean, we all look at this sort of as child abuse.
HAMMER: She's not...
HAMMER: She's not slapping them. That's the easy one, Greta. She's not...
VAN SUSTEREN: No, no.
HAMMER: ... slapping the kids. That's what we often see. She's not doing that. But again, as Bernie pointed out...
HAMMER:No, but acceleration, deceleration (INAUDIBLE) When the head speeds up even a small speed and then stops on the couch, that causes the brain to hit against the inside of the skull. You can get serious injury from that. I've seen homicides from that kind of thing. So it's definitely...
CARDOZA: How about this, Greta?
VAN SUSTEREN: So why are we talking about a misdemeanor? Why are we talking about a misdemeanor?
HAMMER: Because under the statute in North Carolina, you have to have an intentional assault...
VAN SUSTEREN: I got that. I got that.
HAMMER: ... that results in serious bodily injury, and we don't have serious bodily injury, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think that's the only statute, I mean, out there? Do you really — I mean, in North Carolina. I mean, I don't — I mean, I haven't seen the North Carolina code, but...
HAMMER: I need 24 hours and Bernie's help to do some research. We'll be ready tomorrow, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Bernie will do the research.
CARDOZA: How about this?
VAN SUSTEREN: He's got a big firm now. He'll just assign somebody to do it.
HAMMER: His associate.
VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, Michael?
CARDOZA: Greta, how about this? Isn't this the case, you look at that tape, and I would imagine most people get very upset at it. But there will be some that say, Well, it's not as — you know, as bad as some child abuse that we've seen. Isn't this something that should be put to the community there and let jurors decide? Don't let a police officer decide. Don't let the DA decide. Charge her and let the community decide if this is child abuse in their community.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, Ted, when you think 300 bucks, that's the best $300 that that family (INAUDIBLE)
WILLIAMS: Oh, boy. I think you're going to find a lot of mothers and parents in America running out. And this is to tell those nannies out there, You now have to be aware how you treat other people's children when they're not there.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, a child can fall. You can have a — but this was — Bernie, this wasn't just a one-time deal with one — I mean, like, this was — in a short period of time. This was multiple.
GRIMM: It seemed to me an accident that neither one...
VAN SUSTEREN: An accident?
GRIMM: ... these children — it seemed to be an accident that they weren't seriously injured.
VAN SUSTEREN: Oh.
GRIMM: But in answer to your question, it's not double jeopardy. The defendant can be sued and charged with simple assault and it's not double jeopardy.
VAN SUSTEREN: But I mean, double jeopardy — I mean, of course it's not double jeopardy. But I mean...
GRIMM: No. There's an argument that it's double jeopardy if you charge somebody with child abuse and simple assault in the same charge, in the same information. They're very similar.
VAN SUSTEREN: But those are both misdemeanors.
VAN SUSTEREN:So what's the big deal?
GRIMM: ... to jail maybe for 30 days, so...
CARDOZA: Sure you can be charged.
WILLIAMS: But the one I'm concerned about...
VAN SUSTEREN: No, no, but...
WILLIAMS: ... is police officer.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I...
WILLIAMS: Why didn't the police officers...
VAN SUSTEREN: I — you know what I'm concerned about...
WILLIAMS: ... take action?
VAN SUSTEREN: ... is the next baby. That's — I mean, the reason why that she should go through the system here is to prevent it, so that when they do a background check...
HAMMER: Hey, why don't we show her face, Greta?
HAMMER: Why don't you show her face right now so every other mother, every other father in North Carolina...
VAN SUSTEREN: You know what? I actually...
HAMMER: ... cannot have her watch the kids?
VAN SUSTEREN: Jim, that's a good editorial decision, and you know what? I'll pass it up to FOX and we'll do it tomorrow night, if they will, because I'm actually...
HAMMER: If she's not going to be charged, mothers and fathers ought to know not to give your kid to this woman. It's outrageous.
VAN SUSTEREN: And you know — and — and Jim, you know what? I agree with you. And it's a decision that's made I think above my pay grade. But if they agree, I'm happy to show it because I agree with you on that, so that she doesn't take care of other children.
Panel, thank you.
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