Fox News Digital reported that a former teacher at a New York high school was spared jail for administering the COVID vaccine to a teenager without parental consent.
Laura Parker Russo, 55, admitted to injecting a 17-year-old boy with a Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine dose without his parents’ knowledge at her residence in Long Island, New York. The teen, a friend of Russo’s son, told his parents, who decided to report Russo to authorities.
Russo was a former science teacher at Herricks High School. She testified about asking a pharmacist to fill empty vials for Christmas ornaments. Instead, she was given four additional doses by the pharmacist that were close to expiring.
It is not known who Russo’s pharmacist or pharmacy was that provided the vaccine doses.
Fino Celano, Herricks Public Schools Superintendent, stated that Russo was “removed” from the classroom and was “reassigned.” Russo was eventually fired.
Here is the video of Laura Parker Russo giving the student the vaccine.
“Clearly, I should not have administered the J&J vaccine to anyone when I returned home with the vial containing four viable doses, but my son’s friend said he was not vaccinated and wanted to be vaccinated,” Russo said in the statement. “I thought he was 18, and I did not know that the J&J vaccination had not been approved for persons under 18. What I did was an egregious lapse of judgment that I deeply regret, but I did it to help a young man not to harm him.”
Initially, the high school teacher faced the possibility of up to four years in prison when she was slapped with a felony charge of unauthorized practice of the profession. Instead, Russo pleaded guilty on Friday to a misdemeanor count of attempting the unauthorized practice of medicine and a count of disorderly conduct.
Russo was able to plead guilty to avoid jail time. She was sentenced to 100 hours of community service and placed on one-year interim probation. Judge Howard Sturim ordered Russo twice weekly to go to therapy and that she have no contact with the teen boy.
If Russo completes the community service requirement, her misdemeanor case will be dismissed.
Brendan Brosh, spokesperson for Nassau County District Attorney’s Office said that Russo was offered a plea deal “based on her long-standing ties with the community and her absence of criminal records.”
Russo’s lawyer Gerard McCloskey told Newsday that “it’s nothing unexpected.” “This is a disposition we have discussed with the court and the DA’s Office. It was both in the best interests of my client and in the best interest of justice, I believe.
He said, “As long she follows the instructions of the judge, she will have a noncriminal disposition.” She will be convicted of disorderly conduct. This is a violation and not a misdemeanor or felony.
Newsday spoke to Lisa Doyle, the mother of the teen boy. She said she was unsure about how she felt about the plea deal.
“I’ve known her for almost 20 years,” Doyle said. “I don’t think she understands that what she did was not right. Do I think she needs the required jail time? I’m very mixed on that one. … But I’m glad it’s over.”