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Au pair agency defends its role in hiring and defending nanny

SHARE Au pair agency defends its role in hiring and defending nanny

The agency representing a British au pair convicted of murdering a baby defended its role in hiring the teenager and said that the infant's parents had plenty of time to judge the girl themselves.

EF Au Pair, which has remained largely silent through 19-year-old Louise Woodward's arrest and trial, in a statement Wednesday defended its decision to pay her legal bills and said it would continue fighting to clear her name.The agency said it satisfactorily trained Woodward and thoroughly reviewed her references before placing her in the home with the 8-month-old baby, Matthew Eappen, and his brother, Brendan, now 3.

Furthermore, the agency said, Woodward spent three months in the Eappen home "during which they were able to observe her interacting with their children and come to their own judgment as to whether she was responsible enough to be left in sole charge of them. Their assessment completely endorsed our original judgment."

Woodward was convicted last week of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 15 years. Prosecutors said she shook and slammed Matthew against a hard surface on Feb. 4, causing brain injuries that killed him five days later.

Suffolk University law professor Marc Perlin said the au pair agency's statement could be a public relations move or a pre-emptive strike in case it faces a lawsuit from the Eappens, who have not said whether they will sue.