Sarasota nanny arrested and charged with two counts of child abuse involving 8-month-old and 2-year-old

Sheriff’s Office initiates Baker Act after arresting 25-year-old Sarasota woman

Image from the Sheriff’s Office website

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a nanny and charged her with two counts of Child Abuse after she allegedly left two children under her care with multiple bruises, the office has announced.

Additionally, after interviewing the 25-year-old defendant, a law enforcement officer initiated the Baker Act, according to the Sheriff’s Office report. The Baker Act allows an individual to be held involuntarily for up to 72 hours in a mental health treatment facility.

Detectives launched an investigation on April 5, after they were contacted by two Sarasota parents “who believed their children may have been abused by Sarai Rivera,” a news release said. According to the parents, the release added, they left their 8-month-old and 2-year-old with Rivera, “who regularly babysits for their family. When the parents returned home, they noticed bruising on both children.”

During a forensic exam, the release continued, “nurses confirmed the bruising was not accidental but consistent with intentional grabbing and pinching.” Subsequently, during an interview with detectives, Rivera admitted that “she grabbed the 8-month-old child by the chin and whipped her with a towel twice in the face, to get the infant to stop crying,” the release said. Rivera also admitted the bruise on the 2-year-old might have been from Rivera’s “pinching or sucking on his neck too hard,” the release added.

When a detective interviewed one of the parents after the nurse’s exam, the report said, the parent told the detective that after the parent asked Rivera about bruising to the 8-month-old’s eye, Rivera responded that it was caused by the 2-year-old “throwing a toy” at the infant.

Rivera disclosed that she was intoxicated on the evening the incident allegedly took place, the news release pointed out. In the report, the detective added that Rivera “expressed her issues with depression and advised that she was adjusting to medications to cope with it. [She] stated her medication sometimes makes her ‘snap’ and become ‘irritable.’”

The detective initiated the Baker Act for Rivera, based on her “admissions of self harm and the desire to die,” the report indicated. The Baker Act, which became Florida law in 1972, allows “loved ones to provide emergency mental health services and temporary detention for people who are impaired because of their mental illness, and who are unable to determine their needs for treatment,” the University of Florida Health website explains. Judges and law enforcement officers also may initiate the act.

Rivera, of 3006 Markridge Road in Gulf Gate Estates, was charged on the night of April 9 with two counts of Child Abuse. As of April 11, the release noted, she remained in protective custody.

No bond was set in the case, according to information provided by the Corrections Division of the Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office did not make a photo of her available.

Rivera is scheduled to be arraigned on May 17.