2 arrested in Hicksville day care choking death

The director and assistant director of a Hicksville day care center were arrested Wednesday in connection to the death of a 2-year-old in March. Olivia Raspanti choked on a carrot and died at the Carousel

News 12 Staff

May 20, 2009, 11:44 PM

Updated 5,532 days ago

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The director and assistant director of a Hicksville day care center were arrested Wednesday in connection to the death of a 2-year-old in March.
Olivia Raspanti choked on a carrot and died at the Carousel Day School. Now, prosecutors say Director Eugene Formica, 64, and Assistant Director Catherine Cordaro, 51, didn't have a license to care for toddlers. Investigators say the center was only licensed for children over the age of 3.
"They were playing Russian Roulette with the children placed in their care,? says District Attorney Kathleen Rice.
Investigators say none of the employees were trained in state-mandated toddler safety procedures. In addition, six out of the 10 school bus drivers didn't have required commercial school bus licenses, Rice says. Prosecutors contend the day care cut corners in order to make more money.
Assistant District Attorney Ann Donnelly says even after Cordaro knew the child was choking, she downplayed the emergency by requesting no lights or sirens on the ambulance. Donnelly says Cordaro told emergency workers the toddler was breathing but when they arrived, she was not.
Formica?s attorney calls the charges against his client ?grandstanding? by the district attorney?s office. He says neither his client nor Cordaro were in the room at the time of the girl?s death and are not responsible.
Formica and Cordaro face charges including reckless assault of a child by a day care provider, reckless endangerment and running an unlicensed day care for toddlers.


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