Workers Charged for Keeping Pool Open with Drowned Woman at the Bottom

December 23, 2011  |  

Former Department of Conservation and Recreation employees at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Pool in Fall River, MA, will face criminal charges for allowing a dirty swimming pool to stay open for two days while the body of 36-year-old Marie Joseph lay at the bottom.

Regional Director Brian Shanahan and South Coast District Manager Jeff Carter will be charged with reckless child endangerment in the case. Joseph, a mother of five, was last seen alive on June 26 following a child down a slide into the pool. When she hit her head and fell into the pool, it was reported that the child went to tell a lifeguard but was ignored. Surveillance video shows she surfaced briefly after hitting the water but bumped into a child and went under without a struggle.

Joseph’s body wasn’t found until two days later by two teenagers who snuck in after hours. Although two health administrators came to test the water while the body was in there, they didn’t notice it. Consequently, they were immediately placed on administrative leave.

State police divers also found a large amount of debris at the bottom of the pool, including hair ribbons, leaves, and jewelry. According to the staff, the pool wasn’t vacuumed before it opened for the season because a vacuum wasn’t working. Initially, a magistrate said charges against the workers shouldn’t go forward, but another judge said on Wednesday probable cause exists to warrant charges.

These people just gave us 10 more reasons not to swim in a public pool. This is a shame.

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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