September 28, 2012

Babysitters accused of tying toddler to coffee table

By Ben McCanna
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE -- Two adult babysitters are facing charges after they allegedly tied a 2-year-old girl to a coffee table, police said.

Martha Blanchard, 49, and Daniel Post, 51, were baby-sitting four siblings between the ages of 1 and 6 for several hours on Wednesday night when the incident happened, Deputy Chief Charles Rumsey said. The children, whose names police wouldn't release, live with their mother in a separate apartment in the same building as the baby sitters.

Blanchard and Post tied up the toddler with 10 feet of nylon rope after she refused repeated requests to stay away from the refrigerator, Rumsey said. More than two hours later, at 11 p.m., Post began to wonder if it was a bad idea to tie up the girl, and discussed the situation with an upstairs neighbor. The neighbor immediately went downstairs, found the bound girl sleeping in soiled clothing and "responded appropriately by calling the police," Rumsey said.

The neighbor untied the girl before police arrived, according to Rumsey, but investigators gathered enough evidence and witness reports to present the case Thursday to the district attorney, who decided to pursue charges,

The girl was not visibly injured, Rumsey said, but the situation was particularly dangerous because she was left unattended on several occasions with the rope wrapped in coils around her midsection at the tabletop.

"The potential for some type of medical emergency to occur while this child was unable to move seems like a very inappropriate and dangerous situation," he said.

Blanchard and Post, of 8 Sherwin St., Apt. B, were summoned Thursday night on one count each of endangering the welfare of a child -- a class D crime, which is punishable by up to one year in prison and $2,000 in fines. The babysitters will make their initial court appearance at 1 p.m. Dec. 4 at Waterville District Court.

Police and officials with the Department of Health and Human Services determined it was safe and appropriate to return the children to their mother, Rumsey said.

Ben McCanna -- 861-9239

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