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Couple found guilty of running illegal daycare appeal to SC

NASHUA – Former Nashua daycare owners Shane and Erica Lavalley, who were found guilty in April of operating their Ash Street center without a license, have filed an appeal of the verdicts, according to court records.

The center came under investigation more than two years ago after a child fell ill and later died at a local hospital. While police and investigators from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services never implicated the Lavalleys in the child’s death, they discovered during their probe that the couple wasn’t properly licensed, and cited each of them with one Class A misdemeanor charge of license required – prohibition against child endangerment.

The Lavalleys filed their notices of appeal in Hillsborough County Superior Court-South on April 30, about two weeks after district court Judge James Leary handed down the guilty verdicts.

The Lavalleys’ case files were provided by a district court clerk after a Superior Court clerk said she couldn’t produce them because she didn’t know where they were. The files state that a dispositional conference took place Tuesday in Superior Court Judge Charles Temple’s courtroom.

Indications are the parties discussed dates for upcoming hearings and for the Lavalleys’ trials. If the case does go to trial, it is not yet known if they will be tried together or separately.

A trial management conference is now scheduled for Oct. 11, with jury selection to take place on Oct. 21, according to the summary. A start date for the trial itself has not yet been scheduled.

The Lavalleys will continue to be represented by Nashua attorney Justin Shepherd, while Assistant County Attorney Nicole Thorspecken was selected to prosecute the appeal case.

Shane LaValley, 48, and Erica LaValley, 46, each secured $2,000 personal recognizance bonds April 30, the same day they filed for the appeal.

The couple began running the daycare from their 131 Ash St. home in 2005, according to court documents. Whether they still live at the home or have since moved is not known.

Police and medical personnel were called to the home daycare the afternoon of Feb. 22, 2017, for a report of a 15-month-old infant who was unconscious and not breathing, the reports state.

Upon arrival, emergency crews began CPR and transported him to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

At the April hearing preceding Leary’s guilty rulings, the Lavalleys argued they were in compliance with the state licensing statute because they each cared for three children, “and therefore were not in violation,” according to Leary’s order.

But Leary said he agrees with “the state’s interpretation of the statute,” which is reflected in his finding that “it is the child care program that must be licensed, not the individuals providing the service.”

Dean Shalhoup may be reached at 594-1256, dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com, or @Telegraph_Dean.