Provider won't appeal suspension Home day care operator charged in babies' deaths

September 25, 1998|By Chris Guy | Chris Guy,SUN STAFF

EASTON -- The operator of a Kent Island home day care program where two babies suffocated last spring has decided not to appeal the suspension of her license.

Stacey A. Russum, who is accused of manslaughter and reckless endangerment in the deaths, was scheduled to appear in Easton on Monday for an appeal hearing before the Maryland Child Care Administration, the agency that licenses nearly 13,000 home day care facilities.

Russum notified state officials Sept. 18 that the appeal would be dropped, said Harry Bosk, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Human Resources.

"It marks the end of the line as far as our involvement in this case," Bosk said yesterday.

Faced with two counts of manslaughter and two counts of reckless endangerment brought Sept. 3 by a Queen Anne's County grand jury, Russum could receive a maximum of 10 years each manslaughter charge and five years for each count of endangerment.

"We were very disappointed at the grand jury process, but obviously, the Russum family has to prioritize and concentrate their financial resources for the criminal case," said her attorney, Harry Walsh Jr. of Easton.

Arraignment is scheduled for Oct. 1 in Centreville, but the case probably will not go to trial until after the first of the year, Walsh said. "We certainly intend to plead not guilty."

Russum had been a licensed day care provider for 11 years when the two infants, Ian W. Denny and Matthew W. Harrison, suffocated under a blanket during an afternoon nap May 13. In July, the state medical examiner ruled the deaths accidental.

Pub Date: 9/25/98

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