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One of a Parent’s Worst Nightmares
In today’s economy, it has become almost essential for families to be at least two-income household. The ideal of a parent working outside the home and one staying home to take care of the kids and the house doesn’t seem practical anymore. The answer many parents have found is in-home childcare, but that choice can be problematic. In the past, the big concern has been babysitters spending all their time on the phone or eating food out of the refrigerator. The modern reality can be much worse.
Jonny Brand seemed like a nice neighborhood teen. Conscientious boy, polite, loved kids. A real winner. So why not pay him to take care of their two young kids, Dean and Bonnie Williams thought. It’s just for a few hours after their preschool lets out and Bonnie gets home. Penny and Michael love him, call him “Uncle Jonny.” It’s a No Lose situation: The Williamses get to work at their jobs, and Jonny gets to save for a car and for his college education. Win-win all over!
Things worked out well for months. Then the kids started having behavioral problems, the parents report noticing. Penny was waking up at least one night a week, screaming from bad dreams. Michael started wetting the bed again, a problem Bonnie and Dean had thought he’d licked two years previously. What to do? They determined to spend more time with the kids over the weekends. But the problems didn’t get any better, they just got worse. Soon, the kids were acting out at preschool, elevating to the point where, at least once a week, the school was calling Bonnie or Dean to come pick them up early.
And then, the kids starting asking if Bonnie could come home early to play with them, and when Bonnie asked, “Doesn’t Uncle Jonny play with you,” Penny burst out crying and Michael said, “We just want Mommy!” After talking with Dean and Dean’s brother, Karl, a police officer, she thought there might be a problem with “Uncle Jonny.” So, they turned to a “nanny cam,” a video camera hidden in a common household item such as a toy, a smoke detector, or a book, that would record the activities while “Uncle Jonny” was taking care of the little ones.
What Bonnie and Dean saw on the recording sickened, saddened, and frightened them. “Uncle Jonny” was molesting their kids! They brought the tape to Karl and his sergeant, Wally Adams, who immediately brought it to the District Attorney. A warrant was issued by a judge, and “Uncle Jonny” was arrested.
Jonathan L. Brand, 15, was charged with felony child molestation. He is under house arrest and a trial date has been set for early March.
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