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Babysitter pleads guilty to criminal abuse

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Posted at 10:09 AM, Dec 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-14 10:09:28-05

This story was originally posted on FortThomasMatters.com.

NEWPORT, Ky. -- For Northern Kentucky residents Jennifer Diaz and Asha Galvez, a year-long nightmare is close to coming to an end.

That's because on Wednesday December 9, their former babysitter, Desiree Rankin, of Newport, pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal abuse in the first degree in Campbell County court, for injuries that occurred to both families' infants in her home while she was entrusted with their care.

Both charges are Class C felonies, which can result in a prison term of five to ten years.

Rankin was indicted on the two charges on January 15 of this year for the incident involving Diaz' daughter and March 26 for the incident involving Galvez' son.

Diaz, from Bellevue, said that she was first alerted that the injuries to her now 18-month-old, Sophie, might be abuse on the day before Thanksgiving in 2014. She was 6 months old at the time.

"(Rankin) sent a video and then called me a few hours after I dropped Sophie off. She said, ‘Sophie is doing this crazy eye-twitching thing. She won’t take her bottle and her eyes are going crazy,'" Diaz said. "The first thing I thought was that she was having a seizure, so I left work and took her to Children’s Hospital."

Diaz said later, doctors began noticing some bruising and lacerations around her ear.

It's then when doctors began to collaborate with advocates and social workers of the Mayerson Clinic housed within the confines of Children's Hospital, to begin an investigation into the possible abuse.

Diaz said that right away investigators from the clinic told her that they thought Sophie had been abused. Diaz' first thought was her babysitter, Rankin.

Diaz said that she began taking her daughter to Rankin's home in Newport because her long-time friend, Asha Galvez, had her son there previously, with good experiences. Galvez had known Rankin since they were classmates together at Bellevue High School in Northern Kentucky.

Galvez said that after the Mayerson Clinic advocated for Sophie earlier in 2014, they began looking into the other children in Rankin's care, of which there were three, to see there was potential abuse observed.

According to Galvez, an injury to Julian's mouth was the charge that Rankin would eventually be indicted on. He was 8-months old at the time of his injury.

"I kept telling myself that these incidents were accidents and accidents happen in daycare," Galvez said. "But they started happening more frequently and more severe and the explanations were always very bizarre."

Judge Fred Stine will be reviewing the case and will sentence Rankin, who is still in her home while she awaits her final sentence.

Rankin has been restricted from caring for other children while she awaits sentencing. Calls to Rankin's legal team have not been returned.

Fort Thomas Matters is a media partner of WCPO - 9 On Your Side.