Updated: Jun 27, 2019
ABC News reported on June 5 th that a daycare worker, Katherine Weitz, was discovered abusing
children under her care. The office manager “suspected” the children were being mistreated,
prompting the review of surveillance footage, upon which they discovered Weitz hitting,
shaking, and kicking children in a bout of frustration. Weitz later admitted that she was
“frustrated and tired that day and should never have gone into work.” Incidents like this are
unfortunate and not uncommon in environments where vulnerable infants, children, elderly,
and disabled persons are unable to articulate the abuse they are enduring. Caregivers can take
advantage of defenseless individuals subjecting them to physical abuse as well as verbal and
emotional abuse – and too often these criminal behaviors prevail unchecked due to the nature
of the private settings in which they occur. Weitz and many other caretakers pass criminal
background checks, only to later be exposed as violent predators. Improved security measures
are a must to effectively monitor and protect our most vulnerable citizens in situations like
With the advent of artificial intelligence (AI), comes Digital Chaperones that use real-time
technology to detect abuse before it escalates helping to protect both patient/client and the
provider/caretaker and business. An example of a Digital Chaperone is MARIA (MAssage Room
Intelligence Agent) created by www.shepherdai.com. MARIA is a digital chaperone that can
help prevent physical abuse in sensitive environments by detecting inappropriate physical
interactions between caretakers and their clients. MARIA is especially useful in settings where
having a custodian in the room is impractical or not cost effective. The sensors in a good digital
chaperone such as MARIA, identify inappropriate and violent physical exchanges in situations
where video surveillance would be inconvenient, illegal or impractical, and supports businesses
that maintain a considerable amount of risk or liability from fluctuating environments. In
childcare and adult daycare facilities, nursing homes, spas, public restrooms, and medical
offices, etc., having a 24-hour chaperone that can identify misconduct and act in real time is a
powerful deterrent for predators, especially those in whom the certainty of punishment rather
than the severity of punishment would deter criminal acts.
MARIA offers employers who are exposed to potential risk with an alternative to what’s missed
by camera surveillance, mainly the delay in alerting violations and augmenting the threat of
Key benefits of MARIA:
1. The ability to interpret the environment.
2. Compliance with state privacy restraints as MARIA’s technology does not conduct video
surveillance and does not transmit data externally.
3. Reviews the sensor data in real time with no need to store information (with the
exception of training data if needed).
4. Alerts management immediately when inappropriate interactions occur enabling
5. Deters employee misconduct via the threat of assured penalization.
6. Improves company reputation, lifting brand recognition as a MARIA proprietor.
About Shepherd AI: Shepherd AI was founded in 2017 to be the first in Human Behavior Risk
analytics agency that develops and uses technology to eliminate risky human behaviors such as
sexual misconduct and assault in intimate professional environments. The Puerto-Rican based
company specializes in enabling an environment of trust and safety where team members act
with the utmost integrity and stewardship of business. Visit the website for more information
at https://www.shepherdai.com/ .