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Ryan Says Shopping Part Of Her Job

BOSTON -- A personal care assistant was charged with stealing and using a debit card intended for a deaf and legally blind 15-year-old girl.

Kerrie A. Ryan, 38, of Southbridge, is accused of using the girl's debit card to withdraw money and buy liquor, gas and food from January to April, the Telegram and Gazette reported.

Ryan pleaded not guilty Wednesday to more than two dozen charges at Dudley District Court.
Ryan denied the charges to the paper and said shopping was part of her job, along with housekeeping and meal preparation.

Risa Costello-Falvo, the 15-year-old's mother, said the debit card was issued by the state Department of Revenue to automatically deduct $100 a week for child support from her ex-husband's account, the paper said.

Costello-Falvo said Ryan stole the card, obtained the personal identification number and used it to withdraw nearly $2,000 in 41 unauthorized transactions. Costello-Falvo said she didn't initially notice the withdrawals because she had put the card aside while saving money to move.

Falvo's daughter, Megan, has 14 birth anomalies and has been diagnosed with CHARGE syndrome, a rare genetic pattern of birth defects, the paper said. Megan is currently attending the Perkins School for the Blind, but her mother plans to enroll her at the Iddi Crystal Springs School in Assonet.

Ryan was released on personal recognizance and will return to court on Aug. 27.
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