NORWALK, Conn. — Mayor Harry Rilling says he’s standing by his daughter as she faces charges stemming from the 2016 death of an infant in her care. But while his family has received “many, many” supportive phone calls from the public, Rilling called out online mudslingers for “vicious” comments about his daughter “bordering on slander and libel.”
Christine Limone, 50, was arrested May 14 on a promise to appear and charged with five counts of risk of injury to a child, a felony, resulting from the Oct. 5, 2016 death of a 4-month-old baby in her home-based daycare center. The medical examiner ruled that the child died from sudden unexpected infant death, and Limone voluntarily turned over her day care license, according to news reports.
NancyOnNorwalk was not able to obtain a copy of Limone’s arrest warrant in time for this story’s publication.
“A state Department of Children and Families report, cited in the warrant, further concluded that the baby’s death ‘occurred due to (Limone’s) neglect,’” CTInsider reports. The warrant alleges that Limone “placed the baby down for a nap on her stomach “contrary to recommendations and did not utilize safe sleep practices,” and then left the scene without adequate supervision.
Attorney Frank Riccio, Limone’s lawyer, said he and his client “plan on vigorously defending these charges. Ms. Limone and I have yet to review the evidence so cannot comment on the content of the warrant, but assuming the factual contents of the warrant are accurate I cannot see where her action rise to the level of criminal conduct,” Riccio wrote in a Monday email.
Prior to becoming mayor, Rilling served as Norwalk’s police chief for 17 years. In 2017, his son, Stephen Rilling, a member of the Fairfield Police Department, was arrested on drug charges and subsequently convicted of five misdemeanors for stealing drugs from an evidence locker.
Stephen Rilling sued Fairfield, alleging that the police department failed to accommodate a disability he incurred in a work-related car accident, leading to opioid addiction. No attempt was made to reassign him away from narcotics, and his request for a transfer was denied. Fairfield settled with the suit in March, agreeing to pay just under $100,000, the Connecticut Post reports.
In an interview Friday with NoN, the mayor said he has “never, ever interfered or tried to influence any decision regarding anybody in my family,” and said his daughter’s case “will proceed to the court system in the same fashion that any other case.”
Limone is “holding up” despite “ignorant and hateful” posts, Rilling said, referring to a Facebook page whose administrator alleged that “investigators sat on information (about Limone) they knew from day one,” and “paramedics and the medical examiner knew she was lying from the start.”
They’re wrong, they’re spreading misinformation and “when it comes to my daughter they are bordering on libelous, slanderous comments,” Rilling said. “I’m a public official, that’s fine. But when it comes to my family members, I think it’s egregious…And I just wonder what they think when they look at themselves in the mirror in the morning.”
Story edited at 11:45 p.m. Thursday to reinstate reference to a news story published elsewhere.