Children represent not only our future but our past too. They are everything that we as a species have worked hard for and we want to give them every opportunity and treat them with every kindness we can. Indeed, the safety and well-being of our children are among the most important things in our lives.
So when someone harms a child, especially when it is a child that we have entrusted to care for them, we tend to look down upon that person. Take for instance the case of this 36-year-old New York nanny…
Georgia-born Elena Bass, had moved up to New York in her early twenties to make a new life for herself. In college, Elena majored in Women’s Leadership Studies at Salisbury University in Maryland but she eventually settled on Staten Island, where her passion and enthusiasm helped her to insinuate herself into a number of altruistic organizations.
A Better Place
Her personal motto has always been to do all she could to leave the world a kinder, smarter, more functional place and she has always hoped to inspire others to do the same with her actions. Perhaps it was this humanitarian spirit that led her into the world of professional babysitting…
Elena, now 36, had worked for many years and for many families: babysitting their children and helping to rear them as best she could. In 2015, she got a job working for a young couple with a 6-month-old daughter who were living on Schermerhorn Street in downtown Brooklyn.
The Brooklyn couple were the same manner of kind, wonderful people that Elena was used to dealing with and their little girl was the sweetest of babies. The couple themselves were equally taken with Elena. She seemed just the type of babysitter they were looking for. They couldn’t have been more wrong…
On December 22, 2015, Elena had been having some trouble with the child in her care. The six-month-old had been fussing and crying incessantly and she was beginning to lose it. Before she knew what was happening, she grabbed the baby and violently pulled her from the changing table and causing her head and body to shake violently.
The incident was just the beginning and the very next day, on December 23, another incident occurred. This time, the exasperated Elena yanked the child from out of her crib, then slammed the helpless baby into an armchair. What she didn’t know at the time, was that both incidents had been caught on camera…
The baby’s mother had decided to check the camera system they had installed while they were out on the 23rd. It was linked to her phone and she could access it remotely. They had been using Elena for several weeks and trusted her, but it still didn’t hurt to check up now and again just in case.
Roughing Them Up
The baby’s mother was shocked to find Elena roughly abusing their child on the nanny-cam. She shared the video with her husband and both of them headed home as quick as they could. The tapes showed that Elena had been manhandling their daughter not once, but twice over the past couple days…
Call the Police
On the way home the girl’s parents contacted the authorities. They wanted Elena arrested and prosecuted for what she had done to their innocent little baby. Once they had gotten home, they acted as though nothing was wrong, but pretty soon the doorbell rang.
The police had arrived and arrested Elena Bass shortly afterwards. She admitted to having assaulted the child. They took her down to the local jail where she waited an entire day before being sent to arraignment. She was placed before a judge, who gazed down at her with mingled disgust and curiosity…
Even taking into account the brutality of her crime, the Staten Island-based nanny was arraigned that Wednesday and released on her own recognizance: provided of course that she stay away not only from the child but also from her former employers as well.
Elena was charged with two counts of assault and endangering the welfare of a child. By the time it was all said and done, Christmas had come and gone and Elena was sent home. But now she had to find a way to defend herself and avoid jail time despite the fact that the defendants had her on camera, red-handed…
According to Elena’s lawyer, and despite all evidence to the contrary, the tapes do not paint an accurate portrait of the events of the 22 and 23. It appeared as though one of the tapes seemed to speed up at the end, which means that there might be a problem with the entire tape and therefore, all proof of Elena’s crime.
A Little Off
Still, when interviewed about Elena Bass, her neighbors revealed a number of unusual things about her. By their admission, Elena had always been a “little off” and has a proclivity for taking in stray cats. They’ve even taking to calling her the “Cat Lady”. Though, anyone who knows her knows it’s because she is executive director at Staten Island Feral Initiative, an organization which helps strays…
By all accounts, the Staten Island Feral Initiative, which is dedicated to ending free-roaming cat reproduction, was the brainchild of Elena and others like her. It is in line with her goal to make the world a better place through humanitarian means. Of course, her kindness it seems, extends only to cats.
From Russia with Love
Babysitters being caught in the act are not limited to New York apartments, however, nor even just the United States. Take for instance, Russian father Mark Tikhonov, who hired 53-year-old Larissa Ulyanova to care for his new baby boy. At first she, like Elena Bass, seemed to truly care for the child: at least when his parents were around that is…
Mark began to become suspicious when he noticed that every time he handed the baby over to Larissa, he began to cry. He thought it was just par for the course, maybe the baby just had to get used to her. The father took two weeks off to help them get used to one another and whenever he was around, she was always caring and attentive.
But things kept getting worse and the guilt over what Larissa might be doing to his little boy became too much to bear. Still, he couldn’t let her go without proof. He had no choice, he installed a hidden security camera. What he saw shocked and appalled him. What Larissa had done was far worse than anything he’d imagined…
The video footage showed the vicious babysitter picking up the toddler and throwing him onto the sofa, or else slapping him on the face or knocking his tiny legs out from underneath him. He handed the video over to the police, who eventually tracked her down and arrested her for her unbelievably brutal and senseless behavior.
It is an unforgivable thing to hurt a child, let alone one who you have sworn to protect and care for. In both cases, though one is clearly worse than the other in terms of repeated offenses, the caregiver did the unforgivable. We can only hope that both women received appropriate punishments commensurate to their crimes.