State prosecutors have charged a kindergarten aide in Petah Tikva with manslaughter and abuse of a helpless person for the death of 14-month-old Yasmin Vineta.
Ina Skivenko, 23, a temporary resident from Ukraine, is also accused of abusing other babies on eight separate occasions. Prosecutors asked for an extension of her detention for the duration of her trial.
“On many occasions during her work at the kindergarten the accused routinely abused babies,” the indictment says. Another aide and a kindergarten teacher were questioned by police but no decision has been made yet on whether to prosecute them as well.
Skivenko has been employed for the last two years at the Petah Tikva day care facility. She is accused of “holding babies forcibly by the arm and shaking them in the air, kicking them, striking them against the floor with force and dragging them.
She also placed blankets over their heads and bodies, making it hard for them to move and breathe. The accused physically abused babies for a prolonged period, cruelly and inhumanly treating helpless babies,” the indictment says.
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According to the indictment, the other occasions in which Skivenko abused babies occurred over a two-day period preceding Vineta’s death. She is accused of kicking a baby’s rear end and of placing a bucket over the head of another one.
She is accused of covering babies’ heads with blankets while holding them by the wrist, of lifting and shaking them and striking them against a mattress on the floor. Skivenko is also accused of throwing babies forcefully at infant bouncers.
The police have surveillance footage documenting Skivenko abusing the babies. Last month she was taped lifting Vineta with one hand, throwing her onto a mattress on the floor, dealing the baby a blow to the face. She later covered her and another baby with a thick blanket, tightened it and leaned on it for 10 minutes while talking on her cellphone. According to the indictment the baby remained under the blanket for an hour and fifty minutes.
The prosecutors’ request for an extension of the suspect’s remand quotes a Forensic Institute report as saying that Vineta most likely suffocated to death.
Some 250 people demonstrated in front of government offices in Tel Aviv on Sunday, calling for the placement of surveillance cameras in preschools and regulating the monitoring of private day care facilities. “We won’t rest until there is a law for regulating preschools,” one of the placards read.