Raleigh, N.C. — A woman caught handling twin infants roughly on a "nanny-cam" video recorded by her employer entered an Alford plea Thursday on misdemeanor child abuse charges.
Authorities charged Stephanie Merrill in March with two counts of "child abuse – putting a child at risk for injury" after viewing video of Merrill interacting with Lindsay Addison's 7-month-old boys.
An Alford plea means Merrill does not admit guilt but acknowledges that there is enough evidence to convict her of the charges.
She was ordered to take an eight-month child safety course and sentenced to 30 hours of community service. Also, she is prohibited from caring for any children other than her own for a year.
"In an effort to seek justice and to try and facilitate the best result for the people of the state, I think that it serves the interest that she has an ability to learn from this and hopefully provide even better care for her own children," Wake County Assistant District Attorney Patrick Lattour said.
Merrill had no comment after the sentencing. Addison said she and her family are relieved.
"We're actually pleased to kind of have it off our plate – it will always be there. But we're happy there's somewhat of a resolution," Addison said. "She is getting punished for what she did. She has to pay the price."
The Feb. 12 video showed Merrill leaving one infant unattended on the couch and the other falling from her chest into the side of the couch as she works a television remote control.
In another video, Merrill is holding one child upside-down and grabbing and moving the twins by their sleepers.
Addison installed the hidden camera in January to monitor the activities of her 7-month-old twins, Gavin and Bryce, when she went back to work. The twins, who were born prematurely, were not healthy enough to go to day care.
Addison said she confronted Merrill about her actions and fired her the same day she watched the real-time video on her computer at work.