Judge finds family members guilty for operating illegal daycare after toddler’s death
TORONTO – Three family members operating an unlicensed daycare in Vaughan, Ont., where toddler Eva Ravikovich was found dead in 2013 were found guilty Thursday of violating the province’s nurseries law.
Olena Panfilova, her husband Ruslan Panfilova and their daughter Karyna Rabadanova will be back in court Mar. 18 for sentencing.
The three could receive a maximum of one year in jail and fines that could total $750,000.
Patrick Brown, the lawyer representing Eva’s parents Ekaterina Evtropva and Vycheslav Ravikovich, said although the family believes this is a step forward, it was a step made too late.
“We know under this particular act, they are prosecuting them for running an illegal daycare, but the Ministry of Education knew well over a year in advance that this illegal daycare was being operated before Eva’s death and in fact had multiple complaints,” Brown said.
On Jul. 8 2013, the day the two-year-old was found dead, there were 27 other children and 14 dogs on the premises.
Unlicensed daycare providers can legally care for no more than five children under the age of 10, in addition to their own children.
Defence lawyer Joseph Forget has asked the judge for a fine of $10,000 to $20,000 per person and no jail time.
“Nobody wants to go to jail and obviously that scares them and that’s creating a lot of stress on them,” Forget said.
“To me a fine is more appropriate telling people in the future, well if you try operating a daycare without a licence, you will be fined sufficiently and you will not make any profits.”
Eva’s parents have also launched a $3.5-million lawsuit against the Ministry of Education, along with the daycare operators.
In addition to the lawsuit, Olena Panfilova and Rabadanova have also been charged in with obstruction of an investigation and destroying evidence in connection with the case.
“The family is looking for justice, the primary purpose to ensure this doesn’t happen to other children in Ontario,” Brown said.
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