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Ex-day care center owner loses bid to drop charges, goes to trial Monday

The woman who owned a day care center where a boy was murdered in 2009 is set to stand trial in Lake County Monday after losing an 11th-hour bid to have obstruction of justice charges against her dismissed.

Judith Katz is accused of lying when she allegedly told some parents and employees that two staff members were in the room when the boy suffered a skull fracture at Minee Subee in the Park Day Care Center in Lincolnshire. Authorities said there was only one staff member present, in violation of state rules.

An attorney for Katz, Jack Carriglio, argued in court Friday that she did not commit a crime because she did not “furnish false information to police.”

“What it comes down to is the word ‘furnishing,’” he said. “It’s not a crime to think of false information. It must be furnished.”

In fact, the original indictment against Katz did accuse her of “furnishing false information to the police” who were investigating the Jan. 14, 2009, death of Deerfield toddler Benjamin Kingan, a day care center client.

But last month, the prosecution argued and won a motion to amend the indictment, asking that the words “to the police” be stricken.

Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Christen Bishop said the state did not have to prove whom Katz was addressing in order to prove she obstructed justice.

“(Katz) had one of her employees provide false information to police,” Bishop said. “She stated that there were two persons in the room where Benjamin Kingan’s death occurred.”

Judge John Phillips agreed, saying: “I don’t find that the grand jury was misled by the words ‘to the police.’”

Melissa Calusinski, a former worker at the day care center, was convicted last year of first-degree murder in Benjamin’s death and sentenced to 31 years in prison. Authorities said she confessed to slamming the child’s head to the ground in frustration.

Katz, 67, of Arlington Heights, is now ill with cancer, her lawyer has said. She watched Friday’s court proceedings from a wheelchair in the courtroom gallery, with a nurse tending to her. If convicted, Katz faces up to three years in prison.

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