#HelpSanta: Donate to the Les Schwab Q13 FOX Toy Drive

Seattle mom: Care.com needs to change its system after babysitter convicted of child molestation

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Data pix.

SEATTLE - Back in October, a University of Washington student apologized to the children he molested including a 9-year-old Seattle boy.

Cutler, 24, was sentenced to five years in jail.

“I betrayed that trust I know what I did will have a lot of repercussions for the rest of their lives,” convicted sex offender Colin Cutler said.

But the repercussions goes beyond those children he molested, it has impacting families who may have ever hired Cutler to care of their kids.

“I felt like I was going to throw up it was devastating and charges against him were for 9-year-old boys," Seattle mom Jen Walsh said. "That’s how old my son was, just devastating."

Walsh found Cutler on Care.com, a popular service that matches families with caregivers. For nearly 8 months, Cutler babysat Walsh’s 9 year-old son.

Now after multiple therapy sessions Walsh believes her son was not sexually assaulted.

“We think he's OK, but the relationship wasn't OK, even if he wasn't touched this person was not a safe person. He was sick,” Walsh said.

What she is most angry about is how Care.com behaved after finding out about the accusations against Cutler.

“It`s not enough the way they handled things,” Walsh said.

Walsh received an email from Care.com on March 28 alerting her that a member had been removed from the company.

“It didn't have any information on the subject line to call out that I need to open it,” Walsh said.

The company often sends her promotional emails and the March 28th email didn't stand out to her, she said.

“I am mad I didn't know I could have helped earlier,” Walsh said.

In fact, Walsh says Cutler even watched her son shortly after March 28th.

Walsh says months went by before she found out about Cutler`s arrest. She says she tried to reach him on multiple occasions and when he didn’t respond she Googled him and that's when she came across media reports.

“I am not looking for apologies. I am looking for changes,” Walsh said.

Walsh say even if she had opened that email back in March, she says the language was too broad and generic.

The email sent said Colin`s account was closed and that it could have been for a number of different reasons. The company listed examples that could have lead to the closure of his account including crime. But beyond that Care.com said they do not provide specific reasons.

“Even if they couldn't get into specifics which I could understand from legal perspective they needed to be more direct and contact people more directly,” Walsh said.

Care.com released this statement after Q13 News brought up the concerns.

“The safety of our community is of paramount importance to us.  This incident is deeply disturbing and our thoughts are with any impacted family as they work to heal.  When we learned of allegations against this individual, we promptly took steps to notify any member with whom he’d been in contact through our customary communication channel—email—that his Care.com account had been closed and he was no longer a part of our community.  While incidents like this are not common, they tragically do happen and when they occur, they are very often part of an active law enforcement investigation and for that and other reasons we are typically not in a position to share more detail with members but do take prompt action when there is a suspected safety concern.

Care.com is a marketplace, and we do not employ the caregivers on our site.  We conduct a preliminary safety screening of every caregiver enrolled on our site and because we believe that safety is a shared responsibility between Care.com and its members, we make available a variety of tips and tools through our Safety Center, including three tiers of background checks families can purchase, to help them make more informed hiring decisions.”

Walsh says this specific issue is not about background checks because in this case no one could have predicted Cutler would have committed the crime. But she says the company needs to change its flawed policy of notifying customers when something goes wrong, especially when it comes to sexual abuse.

She says the issue is bigger than just Cutler and their family. She is urging the company to reevaluate their notification policy so people are notified more clearly anytime there is a safety concern. Walsh is worried that there are other families who hired Cutler who still may not know about his conviction.

Care.com did not answer many of the questions Q13 News asked on Friday including whether or not they would change its policy in light of the concerns.

Walsh says she is beyond disappointed because she believes the company is putting their needs first before the welfare of children.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.