October 23, 2010

BY JOE HOSEY Herald-News
JOLIET — Paul Carlos wondered why his 2-year-old son was so well behaved with his babysitter, so he set up a secret camera to record her with the child. When he played the tape, he watched in horror as she allegedly beat the small boy into submission.
“It was the most amazing thing I ever saw in my life. It was horrible,” Carlos said before he was overcome with emotion.
Now the babysitter, 52-year-old Erin Denny, is jailed on a felony charge of aggravated battery to a child. But the child’s father was arrested as well for allegedly coming after the woman and pursuing her in circles around a kitchen island.
“I was chasing her,” confirmed Carlos, 34. “My mom saved her. What do you do? I saw red, you know?”
Denny reportedly injured herself during the chase. She was treated for a sore hip, wrist and ribs at Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center before being taken to jail Thursday. Denny was in court this afternoon and her bond was set at $150,000.
Denny was also charged with a parole violation. She was released from Dwight Correctional Center in August 2009 after serving a year and three months for the manufacture or delivery of heroin. Denny has also done time for retail theft and possession of a controlled substance. She has 1995 and 2007 misdemeanor prostitution convictions and a 1998 domestic battery conviction as well.
Charged with misdemeanor assault, Carlos was released on his own recognizance.
Video allegations
Carlos, a Teamster truck driver, said Denny was a family friend and lived with his mother in her East Washington Street home. He would drop his young son off with Denny at his mother’s residence on his way to work.
Carlos said he wondered why his child responded so obediently to Denny compared to others.
“He’s going through the terrible twos, (but) he listens to her,” Carlos said. “That struck me as kind of odd.”
He decided to secretly recording the woman with a camera disguised as a clock radio.
“We bought a nanny cam off eBay,” he said, and set it up in his mother’s living room to start recording when it sensed motion.
When he got home from work Tuesday, Carlos said he sat down at his computer and propped his son up on his lap so they could watch the recording together.
“I didn’t think there was going to be anything bad on that video,” he explained, telling how his son panicked at the sight of himself being beaten by the babysitter.
“He screamed and he jumped,” Carlos said. “If you could have seen the look of fear on my little boy’s face.”
He said the attack was prompted by Denny failing to find the TV remote control.
“Erin couldn’t find the remote for the TV and went over there and started beating him repeatedly,” Carlos said, telling of the shock he felt when he watched the video.
“I never would have guessed,” he said. “She seemed like such a nice lady.”
Carlos, who says he opposes corporal punishment and does not spank his son, choked back tears.

“It struck me as off that he listened to (Denny) and nobody else,” he repeated. “Now I see it was out of fear.”