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Glendale nanny gets 8 years for baby shake

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A Glendale nanny who inflicted brain damage on a baby girl under her care by shaking her was sentenced to eight years in prison last week, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Alma Calderaro, 35, was sentenced by Judge Robert McGann on April 1 after being convicted earlier this month on assault and child endangerment charges.

“At the heart of this case lies every parent’s worst nightmare — the person they entrusted to care for their baby instead is responsible for severely injuring their child and robbing her of a normal life,” Brown said in a statement.

On Jan. 11, 2006, Calderaro took Fiona Qirjako, then 7 months old, to the emergency room at St. John’s Queens Hospital. The infant was in a non−responsive state and having difficulty breathing, Brown said. Fiona was transferred later that evening to Long Island Jewish Hospital where the staff found bleeding in her brain and eyes and extensive brain damage, injuries consistent with the deliberately inflicted trauma of Shaken Baby Syndrome, Brown said.

At trial, Fiona’s parents testified that their daughter was in perfect health up until the time she was dropped off at Calderaro’s home, Brown said. Calderaro testified on the witness stand that the baby was gasping for air and that she shook Fiona in order to revive her, Brown said.

But medical experts testified that Calderaro’s account of how the baby was injured did not jibe with the nature and severity of the injuries, Brown said.

Fiona, now nearly 4 years old, has permanent brain damage.

“Shaken Baby Syndrome is the leading cause of child abuse deaths each year,” Brown said. “Its victims are innocent and helpless children, often injured by those charged with protecting them. These tiny victims are often impaired for life or killed. Caregivers of children should heed the important message that these cases unfortunately bring to our attention: Never, under any circumstances, shake a baby.”

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e−mail at jewalsh@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 154.

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