SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — After her arrest in 2016, the families who hired Brittney Lyon to babysit their children hoped that justice would be swift.
That was not what happened.
Luanne’s daughter is one of the victims. Team 10 is only identifying her by her first name because her daughter is a victim of a sex crime. She said it was about eight years ago when she was looking for a babysitter for her child, who was three years old at the time.
She found Lyon on Care.com and said she did her reference checks, contacting parents who had used her in the past.
On one occasion, Luanne was preparing for an evening out and had Lyon babysit her daughter.
“I put her to bed myself. All she needed to do was sit and just make sure you know everything's okay,” Luanne said.
The next morning, she was shocked by what her daughter told her.
“The very first thing out of her mouth was the babysitter's boyfriend was here. They changed my underwear,” Luanne said.
Luanne said Lyon made up an excuse about what happened and that her boyfriend just dropped off cough medicine. She told Luanne that she had to change her daughter to a newer pair of underwear because “the elastic was bad.”
Luanne never used her again.
Then in 2016, she sat down to look at her news feed on her phone.
“[I] haphazardly come across the news article abouta babysitter and her boyfriendbeing arrested and I instantly recognized the name. I saw the picture. I read through and my jaw just dropped,” Luanne said.
She immediately contacted law enforcement, telling them her daughter may also be a victim. Lyon and her boyfriend, Samuel Cabrera Junior, were arrested.
ABC 10News covered their initial court appearances in 2016 in the North County, but a judge ordered news media not to show their faces at the time.
Part of the evidence against the pair was video. Prosecutors said they filmed their victims and the sexual abuse. Lyon faces 61 felony charges against her in connection to crimes involving four children.
Luanne and the other mothers of the victims are looking for closure, but that is nowhere close to happening.
Cabrera was sentenced in 2021 to multiple life terms in connection to the molestation, but Lyon’s trial has not even started.
While the pandemic postponed trials and many court hearings, two legal experts told Team 10 with said this kind of delay is unusual.
“While the San Diego criminal courts are still digging themselves out of the enormous hole Covid dug for the criminal justice system, Ms. Lyon’s case is certainly the exception and not the norm to have gone on for this long without resolution,” said David Shapiro, a criminal defense attorney not involved in this case.
Luanne’s daughter is now 11.
“All the parents in this case are pretty frustrated, I think not only on the part of us but more so the kids, the older kids who [are] aware now and have the ability to even testify,” Luanne said.
Another concern for Luanne is resentencing legislation. Since her case started, there have been several laws passed in California. Luanne is worried that if convicted, Lyon could either get out early or not receive what she would feel is a just sentence.
“If all of us don't speak up about the increased crime in general, but particularly with these extremely heinous and violent crimes, then I don't know what that says about our system,” Luanne said.
A spokesperson for the District Attorney’s office said they could not comment because it is an open case.
Team 10 confirmed that the case is going to be delayed again because Lyon’s private attorney is no longer defending her. A public defender will be taking over.
Luanne said that could delay the start of this trial by months.
“This has just been delayed and delayed and delayed,” Luanne said. “That in itself is fairly frustrating, where the victims are not being prioritized or the delays may be strategic in nature,” Luanne said.
Luanne no longer uses any online babysitting service.
She encourages other parents to do as much research as possible when looking for a babysitter. Luanne also encourages cameras inside your home. She informs all candidates that she has cameras for “my protection and yours.”
Another mother who is also a victim in this case told Team 10 via email that it is important to “listen to your children.” She did not want to be identified because her daughter is also a victim of a sex crime. She said if she hadn’t listened, she fears the “torture” of her daughter would still be continuing.
“If I could give tips to just avoid one instance it would be worth it,” Luanne said.
Lyon’s next court appearance is scheduled for August. Team 10 reached out to her new public defender and is waiting for a comment.