Owners of daycare where 2-year-old died guilty of operating illegally
Eva Ravikovich died at daycare run by Ruslan and Olena Panfilova and their daughter Karyna Rabadanova
The owners of the Vaughan daycare where a two-year-old girl died were found guilty Thursday of breaking provincial law in what the Crown called the worst run child-care centre that government inspectors had ever seen.
Ruslan Panfilova, 47, his wife Olena Panfilova, 50, and her daughter Karyna Rabadanova, 26, were found guilty of operating an illegal child-care centre by a justice of the peace in a Newmarket court.
Eva Ravikovich died in July 2013 at the daycare the trio ran in two adjoining houses on Yellowood Circle in Vaughan.
Testimony revealed that on the day the little girl died, there were 27 other children and 14 dogs at the daycare, and just three adults supervising. Officials found "filthy" cribs with holes in them, dirty diapers in the kitchen and fermenting food in the fridge.
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Eight months before the girl's death, education ministry officials warned the owners they had to get a licence to continue operating, but did not shut the daycare down until after she died.
The Crown is seeking jail sentences for the trio in the range of three to six months. Crown lawyer Abel Fok called the family's conduct "egregious and unacceptable" and said the daycare was the worst that ministry officials had ever seen.
Defence lawyer Joseph Forget asked for no jail time, and a fine of $10,000 to $20,000.
The maximum sentence for the offence is one year in jail. The maximum fine is $2,000 a day, and with the daycare operating illegally for 126 days after the ministry warning, the fine could be as high as $252,000.
Court heard the family declared annual revenues from the daycare of about $200,000 and has since has sold the two adjacent houses they were using for the business.
The mother of a child at the daycare, Christina Kouydlai, testified during the sentencing hearing that she pulled her daughter in January 2013 after discovering Olena Panfilova drunk.
Rabadanova and Olena Panfilova were about an hour late for their court date and were not in the courtroom to hear the guilty verdict, although Ruslan Panfilova was there. The justice of the peace deferred sentencing to a later date
The two women are also facing criminal charges of obstructing police and destroying evidence in an ongoing investigation.
The Education Ministry fired two child-care inspectors after it emerged officials failed to investigate complaints against the daycare before the little girl died.
Immediately after her death, a York Region health inspector found spoiled food in the daycare fridge, some of which tested positive for listeria.
Ravikovich's parents are suing the Panfilovas and the province.