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2 Arrested in Carrot-Choking Toddler Death at Carousel Day School

On March 18, the day after little Olivia Rispanti choked to death on a carrot stick at the Carousel Day School in Hicksville, state officials shut down the center citing that the owner had no license to operate such a facility. Now Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice has announced that the owner and the center's assistant director have been arrested.

DA Rice said on March 17 that, when alerted to the trouble with the little girl, 51-year-old Assistant Director Kathryn Cordaro told an aide to tell the 911 operator to have the ambulance not use its lights and sirens so as not to scare the children. Rice went on to say Olivia's mother, who actually worked as an aide in an adjacent room, was not told of her daughter's emergency until the girl was en route to the hospital. The child later died.

Both Cordaro and the day school's owner, 64-year-old Eugene Formica, have been charged with Reckless Assault of a Child by a Day Care Provider, Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree, Misrepresentation by a Child Care Provider, and Violation of Social Services Law 390. The assault charge is a Class E felony, while the remaining charges are misdemeanors. Carousel Day School has also been charged with the above crimes and will be subjected to monetary fines if found guilty.

Nassau County Police Department Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey and Deputy Commissioner for Child Care Services for NYS OCFS Dr. Janice Molnar were on hand for the announcement.

Formica has maintained that, although the school never applied for a license, it was in compliance with all New York State day care regulations.

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