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DA: 2 Workers To Be Charged In Fall River Pool Death

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This photo depicts Marie Joseph at the Fall River pool the day she died.

This photo depicts Marie Joseph at the Fall River pool the day she died.

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FALL RIVER (CBS) – Criminal charges are forthcoming in the drowning death of a woman at a public swimming pool in Fall River, the Bristol County District Attorney’s office announced Monday.

The DA said a “systematic failure” of DCR workers contributed to the death of 37-year-old Marie Joseph. Her body went undiscovered for two days while the Fall River Lafayette Park Pool was open in late June, forcing the closure of the pool and a sweeping review of pool safety statewide.

Reckless endangerment of a child charges will be brought against Brian Shanahan, the DCR Regional Director, and Jeff Carter, the SouthCoast District Manager for failing to do enough to protect the kids who used that pool.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports. 

Read: DA’s Investigation Conclusion (.pdf)

DCR Commissioner Edward M. Lambert Jr. says he has issued a number of policy changes since the death, and  cooperated fully with the investigation.

A statement from Lambert said in part:

“I requested and received Brian Shanahan’s resignation on July 20, and on the same day placed Jeff Carter on administrative leave. We are now reviewing the report to determine if additional steps are necessary.

Once again, we extend our deepest condolences to Marie Joseph’s family and friends.”

The investigation found that Joseph’s inability to swim and murky conditions of the water in the pool played a role in her death. Joseph went down a slide, and because the water was so cloudy, lifeguards didn’t see her struggling.

Time-lapse video also released showed the pool throughout the month of June, starting in the weeks before Joseph’s drowning on June 26.

The video showed debris had not been removed from the bottom of the pool before it was filled. The report said water at the time of Joseph’s drowning was nearly opaque.

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