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Nanny allegedly admits to scratching, force feeding children

By Pat Reavy and Sandra Yi, | Posted - Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 10:39pm

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COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — A former nanny accused of intentionally injuring two children was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail Tuesday.

Traci Omer, 21, of Cottonwood Heights, was charged in 3rd District Court last week with intentional child abuse resulting in serious injury, a second-degree felony.

From Feb. 19 to July 11, Omer was hired by a Cottonwood Heights family to be the nanny for their two children, ages 1 and 2. In April, the mother noticed a scratch on the 1-year-old's forehead, according to charging documents. Then in July, she told police she noticed another bruise on his forehead that was covered by makeup.

Omer was fired on July 11. But on Aug. 24, Omer allegedly sent a letter to the family admitting that the 1-year-old had not been safe in her care.

Omer wrote that during the time she watched the children, she would poke, force feed, and "snap a rubber band" against the 1-year-old's leg, the charges state. She would also deliberately make the baby cry, grab the baby in anger, scratch the infant's cheek and once gave the child an "angry scrub" with a kitchen sponge.

"I had gone so far as to scrape off the skin and draw blood," Omer wrote in her letter, according to charging documents. "It was surprisingly easy to do."

She also said she could have prevented the child from falling in the bathtub, causing one of his earlier marks, but didn't, the charges state.

Elizabeth Sollis works for the Department of Human Services, which provides services to vulnerable children, families and adults. She said the agency often works with law enforcement in child abuse cases.

"Any allegations of abuse or neglect are concerning for us," Sollis said. "Everybody does their best effort to try to make sure that the people they're placing the custody of their children with are good people and unfortunately, sometimes bad things happen."

Sollis recommended that parents seeking babysitters or nannies should not only do background checks, but also job checks and check social media.

"They can search social media to see if the individual has accounts out there that might provide them information about them and their lifestyle," Sollis said.

An initial hearing was held Tuesday in 3rd District Court. A judge ordered Omer to be taken into custody. A bail hearing was set for Thursday. Utah state court records show Omer has no other criminal history in Utah.


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