An Omaha nanny charged in the death of a 4-month-old boy lost at least one previous day-care job because of her treatment of children, Douglas County prosecutors alleged Thursday.
Sarah A. Cullen, 24, had a history of treating children roughly and should not be allowed contact with her 6-year-old child, prosecutors said. They also requested that Cullen, who is pregnant, be barred from contact with her baby after its birth.
They said they received an anonymous tip from someone claiming to be a former co-worker.
The tipster said in one instance, Cullen became frustrated with the cries of a baby whose diaper she was changing. The caller alleged that Cullen pushed the baby's foot to its mouth with enough force to split open the child's lip.
“We have concerns for the safety of her own children,” Brenda Beadle, chief deputy Douglas County attorney, said after the hearing. “These were certainly observations that would make one concerned.”
Douglas County Judge Darryl Lowe refused to impose the no-contact order.
He also refused prosecutors' request to raise Cullen's bail, set last Friday at $50,000. She posted 10 percent of that amount and has been released from jail.
Cullen was in court for Thursday's proceedings and waived her right to a preliminary hearing. That means her case automatically goes to district court, where she could be tried for felony child abuse resulting in death.
After the hearing, her lawyer raised questions about the validity of the allegations leveled by the anonymous tipster.
“We need to determine who made these allegations, their credibility, and the big question I have is: Why weren't these allegations made previously?” said Joe Howard, the attorney.
Prosecutors say that on the morning of Feb. 28, Cullen fractured the skull of Cash Christopher Bell, son of Christopher J. and Ashley Bell. Cash died five days later of brain injuries.
Investigators say Cullen gave three accounts of how Cash was injured, but none would explain the severity of the baby's injuries.
Howard has said Cullen was nervous when she spoke with investigators and is devastated by Cash's death.
Prosecutors also asked that Cullen be barred from contacting Christopher and Ashley Bell, saying she had written the couple a letter since the baby died. Lowe also refused to issue that no-contact order.
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