Squatter or Victim? The Nightmare Nanny Fights Back!

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The gloves are off! California's Nightmare Nanny recently declared that she's not a squatter—she's a victim! Once you've learned both sides of the story, it's hard to not wonder what really happened …

When Marcella and Ralph Bracamonte fired Diane Stretton, their 64-year-old live-in nanny, she refused to leave their home and also refused to work. The media issued stories relaying the awful situation, with headlines dubbing her as The Nightmare Nanny, and we all mused over what we would do if we were in the Bracamonte’s shoes.

“I didn't get lunch breaks or coffee breaks or anything!” – Diane Stretton

But in a stunning interview with KTLA's Kacey Montoya, Stretton revealed shocking details portraying the Bracamonte family as cruel and inappropriate employers.

According to Stretton, she was a “prisoner in her bedroom … forced to brush her teeth in her room because she didn't have access to the bathroom.” She claims they placed a lock on the fridge so she couldn't eat and offered her dog food for dinner. Stretton said that she tried to move some of her things out, but she was called names and told to “Get back in your room, you dog.”

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Marcella and Ralph Bracamonte hired Stretton to help with their three children (ages 11, 4, and 1), and to “help around the house in exchange for room and board.”

“The first few weeks she was awesome,” Bracamonte said. “She would come places with us, help out the kids. She was really great.”

… until she wasn't so great.

“All of a sudden, she stopped working. She would stay in her room all day and only come out when food was ready,” said Bracamonte.

According to the Bracamonte family, Stretton told them she “had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which prevented her from helping around the house.” But during the KTLA interview, the nanny claims that Marcella Bracamonte demanded much more of her than her initial duties implied, including a seven-day work schedule and additional children to look after on her days off. And THAT'S why Stretton stopped working and spent entire days in her room.

Regardless of a “last-chance letter,” which Stretton refused to sign because “the job was too much for her,” and a 30-day notice letter, which Stretton refused to sign, things didn't improve.

Stretton threatened to sue.

The police department said they couldn't take immediate action.

And then the Bracamonte family learned of the other lawsuits Stretton had reportedly been previously involved with, placing her on “California's Vexatious Litigant List, a list of people who continually bring legal action, regardless of merit, against others with the sole intention of harassment.”

Stretton has agreed to leave the Bracamonte home, but on her own terms.

In the end, “a judge even ruled in Stretton's favor, deciding the Bracamontes did not terminate Stretton's employment in a legal manner.”

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The Bracamontes had performed a background check on Stretton prior to hiring her … so how did this happen? Did they ask Stretton for references? If they had selected an outlet other than Craigslist to find their nanny, would the outcome have been different? How does one fully protect their family, home, and future from the pitfalls that may occur when hiring a live-in nanny?

If you were in this family's shoes, what would you have done? Share your thoughts below!

What do you think?

Squatter or Victim? The Nightmare Nanny Fights Back!

Kimberly Shannon is a wife, a mother, an editor, a writer ... She is always working to find the perfect balance¹! After Kimberly received her bachelor’s degree in Journalism, she worked on two master’s degree programs (Creative Writing, and Marriage and Family Therapy). At various times in her life she has signed up to study Naturopathy, only to back out at the last minute, and humored the idea of returning full-time to the world of dance. Kimberly has also started 10 different children ... More

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