A prominent La Jolla realtor and mother of three admitted in court Thursday that she severely scratched and pinched several babies to the point of bleeding. Despite the guilty plea, the woman may avoid jail time.
The photos are disturbing, the case bizarre.
Lisa Hench, 45, was back in court Thursday pleading guilty to 8 counts of corporal injury to a child.
Hench admitted she violently scratched eight babies at different locations in 2009, including 7-month old Jori.
“Our child was inconsolable and she cried like she had never cried before,” Gene Carswell said of the attack last November at a community event. “The skin was literally torn off of her toes.”
There were bruises and blood but the infant was too young to explain what had happened to her.
It's still unclear why Hench did it. She would pick up and pretend to play with the babies, while hurting them so badly they would cry in pain.
"I was standing right there," Jori's mother Lainie Carswell said about the attack on her child. Hench's older children went to the same school as the Carswells' older children. Even though Lainie Carswell didn't know Hench very well, she didn't have a problem when she said Hench wanted to hold her daughter.
Moments after handing over Jori, she said her daughter started to scream.
"Just like a wail with a screech, just very loud, I couldn't console her," Lainie Carswell said. "I just finally got to a point where I took Jori and I had to leave."
When the family got home and took off Jori's clothing, they were stunned.
"There were pinches, bruises, bloodied scratches, there had been skin torn off from a toe," the baby's mother said.
After calling friends and comparing notes, she realized another infant suffered scratches around his ears after allegedly being held by Hench that same day.
In court, Hench admitted she had attacked Jori but Gene Carswell said she didn’t seem very remorseful.
“She seemed like this was an inconvenience and a nuisance,” he said.
The district attorney's office says prosecutors will probably not seek jail time when Hench is sentenced next month.
That's disappointing for the victim’s parents.
“What our hope is, is that it doesn't happen again,” Gene Carswell said.
Jori's father is looking forward to the sentencing, where he will be able to address his child's abuser directly.
“We would want to make sure that the judge knew this is someone that needs to continued to be watched,” he said.
Hench will be sentenced January 25, 2011. It's likely she'll get probation. Prosecutors say she will only serve jail time if she gets in trouble again.