A babysitter in Massachusetts has been charged with 100 counts of child sex abuse, which should be a warning to all parents.
John Burbine's indictment accuses him of rape, assault and battery, and child pornography. He worked as a babysitter though his wife's childcare service, Waterfall Education Center.
Perhaps the saddest part about this case is that this isn't Burbine's first offense against children. But the families affected wouldn't have known that.
Back in 1989, Burbine was charged with indecent assault and battery on a child and listed as a Level 1 sex offender, reports Boston's WFXT-TV.
Unfortunately, parents would have no way to know that even if they were searching online. Massachusetts only lists Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders on its website.
Burbine was also investigated by state social workers in 2005 and 2009 after complaints from children who claimed abuse.
For parents looking to avoid this kind of situation, there are ways to investigate babysitters and other child care providers. For example:
- As an employer, you can always perform a background check.
- If you don't have an existing personal relationship with the person you're interviewing to babysit, take a minute to check online sex offender registries. If your state or county keeps court records online, that's also a resource you may want to check.
- A general Internet search is also a good idea. Put the potential sitter's name in quotation marks to get better-targeted information about the person you're searching.
- You can also ask for references and call them to get a better idea of the person you're hiring. Someone who won't or can't offer references is probably a bad choice.
It's also a good idea to prepare your kids for a new caregiver and make sure they know to tell you if anything bad happens. Encourage them to share anything that makes them sad or uncomfortable and take it seriously so they'll be more likely to tell.
If you suspect that something inappropriate has happened, report it as soon as possible. Even if you aren't rehiring that sitter, you'll be protecting other people's children.
Burbine is currently being held without bail based on dangerousness, reports The Boston Globe. His arraignment has not been scheduled as more evidence of his allegedly illegal actions has come out since his arrest.
- John Burbine, Wakefield Babysitter, Indicted On 100 Counts Of Charges In Child Sex Abuse Case (The Huffington Post)
- Pre-Employment Background Check Laws (FindLaw)
- Can You Refuse to Hire a Sex Offender? (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)