JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) -- A former day care worker caught on tape abusing children last year has been sentenced to five years in state prison.

Peter Dazeley, Getty Images

Hudson County prosecutors say 27-year-old Ann Bactawar had pleaded guilty in September to three counts of child endangerment and two counts of simple assault.

The charges stemmed from an investigation that began in April 2013, when the parents of a 19-month-old boy noticed he had a bruised face and swollen lip. Authorities say the boy was hurt when Bactawar upended him as he stood on a box.

The Jersey Journal reports that Bactawar received five-year sentences for each of the child endangerment charges and six-month terms for each of the simple assault counts. All the sentences will be served concurrently.

During Friday's sentencing hearing, Bactawar's attorney conceded that his client's behavior was inexcusable, but added that she was "not evil."

The attorney, Joel Silberman, said Bactawar was in over her head in a childcare position she was unprepared to hold.

"It's not the loss of her freedom that bothers her," the attorney added. "She's most upset that she's labeled as someone who hurts a child. She has always been remorseful."

Speaking in court before the sentence was handed down, the mother of one of the abused children said she had quit her job so she could watch her child, because she no longer can trust day care workers.

"The emotional trauma feels just as real now as it then did," the woman said. "Why would someone want to intentionally harm an innocent child?"

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.