A sobbing Connecticut nanny apologized to the family of three children she abused, but it didn’t stop a judge from sentencing her to 15 years in prison on Tuesday.
Newstimes reports that Lidia Quilligana, 32, had worked as a nanny for a family in Danbury for around a year when they became suspicious that their children were being abused. In December 2014, the family set up a hidden “nanny camera” after they noticed their oldest daughter, 3, had a black eye and burned hands. Quilligana lied when the child’s mother questioned her, and said that the child stood on a chair next to the stove and accidentally burned her hands.
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By March 2015, the nanny camera recorded 10 days of child abuse and torture at the hands of Quilligana. Among other instances of abuse, the nanny was caught swinging a 3-year-old around by the hair, locking a 1-year-old twin toddler in a toybox, and slapping one of the children across the face.
“I couldn’t control myself. Believe me, I loved those children with all my heart. I’m sorry a thousand times,” Quilligana, originally from Ecuador, said via an interpreter.
“To be frank, I’m not the one you should apologize to,” the children’s mother said. “You need to own up to what you did and serve your time. There is no excuse for your behavior.
Court officials reported that they’d never seen a case quite like this one. Attorney Sharon Dornfeld, who represented the victims, said that the torture of the children was “depraved cruelty.”
“There was an amount of sustained and depraved cruelty that I’ve never seen before. Every parent at some point snaps and does something to their child they later regret. The video shows this case isn’t even close to that.”
Assistant State’s Attorney Warren Murray added that the video showed that Quilligana abused the children every single day for 10 days straight.
“The abuse occurred virtually every day that we have video for. While Lidia may seem petite, she was big enough to casually pick up a 3-year-old girl and swing her around by the hair, much like a track star swings a hammer. It was just so disturbing. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Quilligana’s lawyer, Jenn Tunnard, admitted that the abuse was “unthinkable,” but added that her client was abused by an alcoholic father as a child, and “disciplined” the kids the way she was disciplined as a child. Further, Tunnard said Quilligana was approaching a “nervous breakdown” when the abuse occurred, as she left her three children behind in Ecuador, with one of them recently in a horrific car accident.
”While the public may see my client as a monster, she is really a sad person who lost control.”
The attorney’s words fell on deaf ears, and no matter how hard she sobbed, the children’s family showed no outward sympathy for their former nanny.
“I can’t even fathom what these children went through that wasn’t caught on video,” the children’s godmother said. “I can’t imagine spending day after day with this torture. These were all babies.”
[Feature Photo: Police Handout]