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Monday, December 14, 2015

Newport Woman Pleads Guilty to Criminal Abuse of Two Infants

Sophie's ear lacerations from the alleged abuse. Provided. 

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

That's because on Wednesday December 9, their former babysitter, Desiree Rankin, of Newport, pled 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.

According to KRS, criminal abuse is when the guilty party intentionally abuses another person or permits another person of whom he has actual custody to be abused and thereby: (a) Causes serious physical injury; or (b) Places him in a situation that may cause him serious physical injury; or (c) Causes torture, cruel confinement or cruel punishment;to a person twelve (12) years of age or less, or who is physically helpless or mentally helpless.

While Rankin did plead guilty to both charges, she has invoked an "Alford plea."
This means that while she has pled guilty in criminal court, she is not admitting to the criminal act and asserts innocence. The Alford plea, simply means the evidence the prosecution has would be likely to persuade a judge to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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.’ The first thing I thought was that she was having a seizure, so I left work and took her to Children’s Hospital."

Sophie. Provided. 
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 perceived abuse to young Sophie.

"The hospital room was chaos. There were social workers and doctors and police everywhere. It was really nerve-wracking," she said.

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.

"I've known (Rankin) since we were teenagers. She told me that she had gone to Morehead State for childcare and I knew she had worked at well-known pre-school in Newport, so I thought she was well-trained and qualified to take care of my child," said Galvez. "That’s why I was completely caught off-guard by the allegations of abuse."

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 if 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.

"(Rankin) said that Julian had unclipped the metal pacifier clip attached to his shirt and had somehow put it into his mouth and closed it back down, which tore his frenulum (the flap of skin that connects the lip to the gum). Rankin rushed him to hospital and the doctor told her she did the right thing. It wasn't until later and talking with the Mayerson Clinic that they told me that was impossible (for Julian to have done that) and that the doctor should have raised a red flag right there," said Galvez. "I kept telling myself that these incidents were accidents and accidents happen in daycare, but they started happening more frequently and more severe and the explanations were always very bizarre."

Julian. Provided. 

Diaz, who has quit her job to stay home with her children, said she wants to help advocate for other abuse victim's going forward.

"I’ve held this in for over a year and now that she's pled guilty, I want other people to know about this incident so that they know what signs to look for with child abuse. It’s been such a negative thing that’s happened in our lives and I want to try to turn this into a positive situation for us and others who may be going through this," she said.

Galvez agreed. She said that the families are asking members of the community to support Julian and Sophie at the sentencing hearing on February 2, 2016 at 8:30 a.m. by wearing blue, the color that represents child abuse victims.

"We want the judge to see that we as a community are united on this. These crimes can't be tolerated," said Galvez. "When you trust someone to take care of your children, you shouldn't have to worry about these types of things."

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

Diaz said her longterm plans also include collaborating with legislators to help craft a child abuse registry, similar to the sexual crime registry.

"When things happen, parents should be able to go and check if the person taking care of their child has a history of abuse," she said.

As for Sophie and Julian, Galvez said initially Julian was petrified of anyone that resembled Rankin, but he is beginning to overcome that.

"Sophie is doing great," said Diaz. "Thankfully she has not had any lingering effects from this trauma. Initially we thought she was going to have seizures, but thank God it only happened that day. The advice I would give to other parents in this situation is to trust your gut and know the signs of how to recognize if something is wrong."

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


Resources from the Mayerson Clinic

How can I tell if my child has been physically abused?
If your child tells you of abuse, listen to what he or she has to say and report your concerns to the child welfare agency. Younger children may show signs of abuse in the form of injuries that can’t be easily explained as coming from normal childhood accidents.

Some types of injuries are suspicious or indicative of abuse. These include:

-Injuries that occur in a pattern or show the markings of the implement used to inflict the injuries −  belts, buckles, cords, cigarette burns
-Immersion burns, in which the child has been dipped in scalding water, which are indicated by sharply defined areas of redness
-Bruises on children who don’t walk yet
-Unexplained fractures, lacerations or abrasions
-Evidence of delayed or inappropriate treatment for injuries

Some behaviors, or behavior changes, may also stem from physical abuse. These include:

-Self-destructive behavior
-Fear of being at home or running away from home
-Bizarre, inconsistent or improbable explanations of injuries
-Wariness of adult contact and apprehensiveness with others


  1. I don't understand. If you knew your child was being hurt why would you keep taking them there. And if youre positive she did it and have such a case aganist her why would it plea out to just 90 days? If it was my child I would push for the hardest punishment. Also if there is such a case aganist her why would the courts allow her to do a Alford plea. She is saying she didn't do it and the courts allow the plea. So it means the court sees the flaws in this.

  2. You can learn a lot from people by observing their behavior in circumstances like this case. The accused claims her innocence and ask for prayers. Galez choices to be reserved and allows the courts to do their job. The mother responsible for this article claims to have remained silence for an entire year. Social media proves otherwise. She campaigns to ruin the accused, but is there concrete evidence that proves the abuse happened under her watch?. She would also like you to believe that the idea to work with legislation on a a child abuse registry is her idea, when in fact Erica Hammel originated the concept and is trying to get Wyatt's Law passed. Diaz has confirmed the accused address on social media, resulting in near harm to Miss Rankin's toddler. Every time I see the justiceforsophie&jillian shirts Diaz had printed by NKY Custom Designs, I can't help but think that she believes it is ok if the accused child gets abused, just not hers. I believe it was tasteless to create a Facebook event inviting the public to a court hearing. Yes, I believe that the behavior of the adults in this case speaks volumes.

  3. I would not wish abuse upon any child. However, it is disturbing that the mother of young Sophie chooses to promote violence rather than stop it. Sad.

    1. Wow you must be friends or family with the accused. Dont be so blind!!!

    2. There are a lot of red flags in this situation. Especially if you follow the social media post that many are making concerning this ordeal. People stories have changed more than once, they tell their side in the post. And you can see the variation in the stories. I haven't followed it very closely. I won't be surprised if there are lawsuits and charges of slander ect after the hearing. I get she plead guilty, but if she plead guilty with an Alfred plea, then she hasn't admitted guilt or admitted to anything. I dont have a law degree or anything but saying a person did something and saying they admitted to when he hasn't, that is slander. Especially when they attack his character based on admitting to the child abuse. When they haven't. I dont know what happened because I wasnt there. But there is a lot of empty assumptions and black holes in the stories that are being posted. And the fact that one went straight to social media about the case, and then promotes violence and actions to the accused is childish.

      When someone post about doing harm to another or post where they live and individuals who are involved in the case (parents of the young ones and their family members) like those post and say they agree. That is in fact promoting harm.

      If because of those post additional people where harmed or hurt or put in harms way.... they should have charges brought aganist them as well.

      Trying to add people of child abuse to the sex offenders registry is a it much. And will never pass. Creating one just for child abuse.... maybe. But on the sex offender one. Waste of time.

      The victims and the victims families as well as all those involved will never be able to move on from this as long as adults act like children.

      If this was going on for a while, the way the article reads it seems like it did. Why would these parents keep going back to her for child care. Isnt that abuse and neglect in some way on their part.

      If I had a child and suspected something wasnt right. My child wouldn't go back from day one of suspecting something.

      there is a lot of strange and oddness about this. Something isnt adding up. And everyone see child abuse and they just want to hate and attack someone for it. But this story is off, as if there should be more to it

  4. The accused?? The convicted awaiting sentencing!!! It would be nice to know who "anonymous" is so that we could give them credit for sounding so ridiculous and uneducated with their facts!!!

  5. Convicted on a alfrod plea. Which means she says she is innocent. Who wouldn't take 90 days of in home jail or in jail over 20 or 24 (its either ten ot twelve years for one count and there was two) years of prison.

    Would be nice to know who you are.

  6. I just read all the post and you can go to everyone's Facebook's. What is not true about what people have posted. Maybe you're the blind one, and uneducated. Oh I get it. Youre close with the accusing. Now i get it. Crazies hang out with crazies

  7. There has to be a reason why the prosecution offered the Alfred plea.
    To me, it is ridiculous for an individual to request the identity of those who are "anonymous", when they themselves chose to post in the same fashion.

  8. If there was such a strong case why was a plea even offered? Hope everyone this case has impacted some shape or form finds peace within. Spite, hate, and bitterness can break and destroy a man without them even knowing it..

  9. If there are so many "black wholes" then ask one of the parents. I'm sure they would be more than happy to explain. Alford early shows up on your record as "guilty", not " Alford plea" so if anyone posted that Desiree Rankin plead guilty it is a fact. Not slander.

    1. I think what the person above was saying that people saying she admitted to hurting these kids are slander. I get that it shows guilty but an Alfrod plea indicates that she retains her innocence. If I was her and that offer came across the table to me, damn straight I would take it. 90 days over 20 plus years is nothing. If it is such a case aganist her why did they plea it out. Since you know so much about it?

    2. I am asking this peacefully. It is clear that at least one of the parents are posting comments. So help other understand. If the accused (I know the term may frustrate some, but I do not know if she is guilty,my apologies) is guilty, why agree to offer the plea?

  10. Guilty is guilty it doesn't show up as an "alfrod plea" so get over it! And yes Erica started Wyatt's law but that is only for Michigan! I'm a little confused with what the person above is saying? What parent wouldn't love to look up somebody to make sure their potential baby sitter is as good as she says she/he say they are. I know I would love to look up people and know that he or she is a child abuser or sex offender. This is called protecting my child in any way I can!

  11. If it is truly about protecting the children why did the parents keep going back to this chick. Or did all the broken arm and lip and ear thing and whatever else has been listed happen on the same day. And alfrod plea and straight guilty are two different things. If they were the same "guilty is guilty" then why did they offer it to her.

    And still no one has answered why was she offered a plea if the case is so solid aganist this chick.

    1. Because all they did was point fingers at the babysitter and was never looked into I don't know why because the moms story changes with the weather! She didn't have the financial means to fight and those ppl who are white trash and married to illegal aliens just want their 15 min of fame and don't care if they are putting a child in harms way by putting her address on there... About the stupidest ppl I have ever met!!!

  12. I'm sure the one posting comments upholding the accused is the accused or the accused family/ friend. The child/children are the victims not the accused, that I know is guilty!

    1. That's funny because she has said she hasn't done this since day one but the mom has changed her story more than underwear and she has actively put another child in danger and almost got hurt because she is trash

  13. Or its just people asking questions no one will answer or keeps avoiding.

  14. There is a lot of people involved in this case. Everyone reds to stop with the social media and the money making scheme and leave it be and come the day of her sentencing she will get whatever she gets and that will be that. No one posting on her will be able to change the outcome of the judge say and that is that. so stop wasting precious time and energy arguing over something that cant be changed

  15. This name sounds so familiar?
    Has she worked somewhere besides baby sitting