A Bayfield baby sitter accused of abusing an infant child under her care is on trial this week in La Plata County Court, accused of leaving the child unattended for extended periods of time in closed rooms, including a closet.
A jury was selected and opening statements were made Thursday in what is expected to be a two-day trial. Sheena Goldsborough, a special prosecutor from the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office, which includes Cortez, and Durango defense attorneys Ingrid Alt and David Greenberg argued the circumstances that landed Bridget Craig in the La Plata County Combined Courthouse.
Craig, who declined to comment for this story, has been charged with two counts of child abuse.
The prosecution says Craig, from Jan. 1, 2017, to Aug. 16, 2017, as the daytime caretaker of an infant belonging to Elizabeth Quezada and Brian Miller of Durango, left the child in a car seat unattended for extended periods of time, often in an office, a bathroom or even a closet.
“Leaving a child alone in a car seat, in a home, in a closet with the lights out is child abuse,” Goldsborough said in her opening statement.
Defense attorneys said the allegations were fabricated by Craig’s disgruntled ex-roommate, Sarah Hobbs, and were brought to law enforcement by the mother in a “rush to judgment” and weren’t properly vetted by police.
“These charges are baseless against Ms. Craig,” Alt said in her opening statement.
Goldsborough suggested in her opening statement that Craig’s child abuse was persistent and negligent. It started in January 2017, she told the jury, when Quezada noticed that every time she picked up her daughter, she had a dirty diaper. As time went on, her daughter became sensitive to the word “no,” Goldsborough said.
When Quezada went to pick up her daughter on Aug. 17, 2017, Craig seemed surprised when the mother walked in a few hours early, Goldsborough said. Craig rushed to the bathroom to retrieve the child, who Goldsborough said was sobbing, shaking and sweaty. She was also covered in feces, Goldsborough said.
Alt, in her opening statement, said Craig often put Quezada’s daughter in another room and closed the door because the family who shared Craig’s Bayfield home was often loud and woke her up. And when Quezada arrived early, her daughter had just woken from a nap, Alt told the jury. Of course she was upset – the infant had a dirty diaper, Alt said.
When Quezada grabbed her daughter’s car seat, it was soaked, the prosecution said. When the car seat dried, Quezada had to disassemble it to remove “flecks of brown poop,” Goldsborough said. The next day, Quezada and her daughter’s father decided to move their child to a day care in Durango. The defense said the move was for convenience, but the prosecution said it was because of abuse.
During a chance encounter in October 2017 at a City Market in Durango, Craig’s former roommate informed Quezada of three specific times she saw the infant being abused, which led the mother to contact law enforcement, Goldsborough said. Formal charges were filed March 9, 2018.
Seven people are serving on the jury, including four women and three men. Closing arguments are scheduled for Friday afternoon.