WAUSAU (WAOW) - Prosecutors say a hidden camera captured a 19-year-old Rothschild babysitter hitting a 4-month-old baby hard enough that the swing the baby was in moved across the floor.
Jennifer Cronin is charged with one count of felony child abuse. Court records say her preliminary hearing is scheduled April 25.
According to the criminal complaint, the baby's father installed the so-called "nanny cam" last month in a family room because he was worried Cronin was not watching his two children carefully enough.
The complaint says Cronin babysat for the family three days a week. The father told investigators he became worried about the care of his children with Cronin because he got a call at work one day and was told by her that an older son had fallen backward, hit his head on a pole and was "unable to calm down." But the boy told the father later he fell down some stairs.
The complaint says the camera captured Cronin striking the baby's head and face four times while the child was being fed in a swing March 1.
Police say they reviewed the video and saw Cronin striking the baby hard enough to move the swing. The video also showed Cronin hitting the infant with a small towel across the face while the baby was on the sofa, the complaint said.
"Babysitter's frustration, anger and rage was very apparent by facial expressions during all incidents," the complaint said.
Cronin's attorney, Richard Lawson, said the accusations against Cronin are way out of character. He said she has no history of problems, "not even a parking ticket."
Cronin appeared in Marathon County Circuit Court on Tuesday and a judge set a $5,000 signature bond as bail.
According to the complaint, the mother of the baby had babysat Cronin for several years when she was a child.