BOONE CO., KY (FOX19) - While a Boone County man sits in jail facing a criminal abuse charge, two local mothers say they are fighting for justice for their children.
Erin Wade and Jillian Riehemann claim the abuse unfolded inside a Florence apartment building this past year. They said it disturbs them to this day.
"Your job is to protect your child and love your child, and when you can't do that at that moment, it completely shatters you and destroys you," Wade said.
According to Wade, the problems started back in June 2017 when her two boys spent the day at their now former babysitter's house. Wade said that her three-year-old's arm was injured while he was at the home, but the babysitter didn't tell her for five hours.
"(Doctors) said it was a transverse fracture, which is caused by extreme yanking and pulling, which is a huge indication of child abuse," Wade said.
It wasn't until days later Wade said she found out that the babysitter's boyfriend, Bruce Carpenter, had violently pulled and shoved her child while the babysitter was away.
Around the same time, Riehemann said her children were being babysat at the same residence. She claims Carpenter hit one of her boys in the face and said that one of her sons came home with a black eye and welts.
"I feel like I let my kids down," Riehemann said. "I feel like I should have never put them in that situation."
The mothers said they went to Florence police, and after months of investigating, a warrant turned into an arrest. Carpenter is currently in the Boone County Jail on a charge of criminal abuse in the second degree involving a child 12 or under.
"It doesn't take away the pain and the suffering that our family went through, especially my son, but at least I know justice was served for him," Wade said.
Details from the investigation are limited because the case is ongoing, so it is not clear what evidence prompted police to arrest and charge Carpenter.
Wade and Riehemann said that Carpenter has denied injuring the children and has claimed that the kids got hurt while they were playing rough. The mothers said they do not believe him and hope to see him found guilty in court. Carpenter will go before a judge March 31.