(Reuters) - A woman dubbed the “nightmare nanny” in U.S. media after she refused to move out of the house of a California family she was working for has said she was being exploited.
Speaking out publicly for the first time, Diane Stretton, 64, told Los Angeles radio station KNX 1070 and television station KTLA in interviews on Monday that she was forced to work for days on end without breaks looking after Ralph and Marcella Bracamonte’s three children, and quit before she was fired.
“They were the ones that were trying to exploit me as if I was some poor migrant worker from a foreign country that they could just exploit and work 24/7,” Stretton told KNX.
The Bracamontes have said they hired Stretton in March to watch their children and do chores for room and board in their Upland home but that she stopped working within weeks.
They say the nanny told them she had chronic pulmonary disease, ignored repeated requests to leave and made them scared for their property and the safety of their children, ages 11, 4 and 1. Stretton said she was doing her job.
“There wasn’t a single day I was there except for the two days I was sick that I didn’t do dishes or about two to three hours of cleanup,” she told KTLA.
She also told the station the family tried to feed her dog food and that Marcella Bracamonte had a temper.
The Bracamontes could not be reached for comment. But Ralph Bracamonte said on his Facebook page that Stretton’s allegations were untrue.
“Like I’ve been saying, this woman loves to play chess, and I knew she would come up with something. It’s just sad and really breaks my heart,” he said.
Marcella Bracamonte told ABC News’ “Good Morning America” the nanny had told the family’s attorney she plans to leave by July 4, and California media have reported that Stretton appeared to now be living out of her car.
The family had earlier said the woman threatened to sue them for wrongful termination and elder abuse. Police declined to intervene in a civil matter, so the couple launched an eviction process, which they feared could take months.
Police say that once a person establishes residency they must be “formally evicted” under California law, a process that could lead to a court-ordered “forcible eviction” carried out by county sheriff’s deputies.
Reporting by Shelby Sebens in Portland, Oregon, Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Sandra Maler