CASTLE ROCK, Colo. - A 23-year-old babysitter hired through the website Care.com was convicted by a jury last Friday of sexually assaulting a young boy he was babysitting in the summer of 2010.
This is the second sex assault conviction for Justin Alexander Jefferson.
He had previously pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a young boy in Aurora, prosecutors said.
The families of both boys found Jefferson via the website Care.com which is used to find babysitters, nannies, caregivers and tutors. The website says it helps families find "high-quality" caregivers by giving detailed profiles, references and background checks.
"This case is a chilling reminder that our children are at risk if left with strangers," said District Attorney George Brauchler. "We urge anyone who may have hired Justin Jefferson to contact us if he was ever in their home or alone with their child. As a parent of young children, I am determined to make sure that these predatory practices are discovered and punished."
"This type of predator is particularly worrisome because he gained the trust of unsuspecting parents to babysit their children," said Sheriff David A. Weaver.
"The two victims in these cases were remarkably brave to come forward with their families and describe their assaults. Thanks to them no more children will be victimized. Justin Jefferson will never be alone with a helpless boy again," said Deputy District Attorney Chris Gallo, who prosecuted the case.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office ask that anyone who hired Jefferson through Care.com, from 2009-2011, to contact them.
If you've ever hired Jefferson, contact law enforcement if you suspect that he engaged in any sexual contact with your children or exhibited other inappropriate behavior.
Jefferson is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 28. He faces 10 years to life in prison on the Douglas County conviction.
A Care.com spokeswoman released this statement:
"This case is deeply disturbing and our thoughts and prayers are with the families as they continue to heal. Care.com is an online marketplace that enables members to meet and connect with providers of caregiving services, and we take the safety of our community extremely seriously. When this incident occurred in 2010, we immediately closed Mr. Jefferson’s account, communicated with any family with whom he had been in contact, and fully cooperated with authorities sharing any and all information we had. We are committed to providing families the best tools and resources to help them make an informed hiring decision and have implemented a number of safety features to help families find quality care providers. Equally as important to the measures we have instituted, and the tools that we have created for our members to use, is for families to exercise appropriate steps in safety, including meeting care providers before hiring them, reference checks and monitoring the relationship. We are deeply saddened by this news and this incident reinforces the need for everyone -- families, communities and companies like us who service them, to be vigilant in assuring the well-being and safety of our children."