Wagner College student accused of leaving mentally disabled child alone while at the Mall
Thursday, February 02, 2006
By SALLY GOLDENBERG
STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE
A Wagner College student has been arrested for allegedly leaving a severely mentally disabled 6-year-old girl in her charge unattended in a locked car for nearly a half-hour while she shopped.
Police responded to a call from a concerned bystander in the parking lot of the Staten Island Mall, New Springville, Sunday afternoon and found the young girl alone in the car.
When Christina Riguardi of Annadale returned to the parking lot, cops arrested the 21-year-old for allegedly endangering the welfare of a child. The aspiring special education teacher could face up to a year in jail if she is convicted.
Ms. Riguardi, who has cared for the child over the past year, was fired from her job at On Your Mark, the not-for-profit agency in West Brighton that offers services to disabled children and adults.
An honor-roll student who took the child to gymnastics classes, parks and restaurants five days a week, Ms. Riguardi told authorities: "I left the child for about 10 to 15 minutes to exchange something at the Limited. I wasn't thinking. I made a stupid mistake."
According to court papers, however, the child was in the car for 25 minutes.
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