Fort Mitchell babysitter pleads guilty to shaking 10-week-old baby

tstevens@ledger-enquirer.comJuly 11, 2014 

Sherae Reich

A Fort Mitchell, Ala. babysitter was sentenced to four years in prison Friday after she pleaded guilty to shaking a 10-week-old infant, a Russell County District Attorney official said.

Sherae Reich was arrested in May 2013 and charged with felony child abuse after she admitted to shaking the child hard enough to cause brain bleeding, according to a previous Ledger-Enquirer report.

Russell County Sheriff's deputies first learned of the child's injuries after Reich called the child's mother to say she was unresponsive on May 1. Reich was babysitting six other children, including four of her own, at her Sorghum Court residence that day. She was pregnant at the time of the incident, and did not have a babysitting or daycare license.

The infant's mother, who worked as a Russell County Emergency Medical Technician, rushed over in an ambulance. The child suffered from bleeding on the brain and behind the eyes.

When questioned by authorities, Reich said she "lost composure."

"I think the evidence will show that she picked the baby up and was shaking the baby trying to get it to stop crying," Sheriff Heath Taylor said during a press conference. "She put the baby very forcefully down in the swing or seat it was in. I believe part of the trauma came from that seat as well."

It was not the first time Reich is accused of shaking the baby. She told investigators she put the baby down forcefully on a cushioned couch after shaking the child during a prior incident.

"For us, we're just fortunate that the baby was able to be saved and that there wasn't any more damage to the child," Taylor said. "I can imagine how traumatic that would be — that you leave your child with someone who is supposed to be a daycare type person and all of the sudden your child is unresponsive and having to be flown to a child care facility."

A Russell County District Attorney official said Friday that the child has since recovered, though she may need surgery in the future for a torn retina.

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