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Lady Crusaders Fashion show to honor Connie Russo-Carriero

Posted Saturday, March 24, 2007 by Michael ODonnell

Stepinac fashion show to honor slaying victim
By RICHARD LIEBSON
THE JOURNAL NEWS


(Original publication: March 24, 2007)
WHITE PLAINS - Archbishop Stepinac High School's Lady Crusaders will hold a luncheon and fashion show tomorrow to celebrate the life and memory of Connie Russo-Carriero and raise money to support school programs.

Russo-Carriero, 56, of White Plains, was stabbed to death in June 2005 at a city garage by Philip Grant, a convicted sex-offender.

Grant was found guilty of the murder last year and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

In the aftermath, Russo-Carriero's sons, Stepinac graduates Jonathan, class of 1995, and Michael Russo, class of 2000, lobbied successfully for the enactment of a state civil confinement law to prevent dangerous, high-risk sex offenders from being returned to society after their prison terms are completed. "Connie's Law" was signed by Gov. Eliot Spitzer earlier this month.

"Stepinac was always a big part of our lives and of our mother's life," Jonathan Russo said. "It means a lot to us that they are giving her this honor."

Russo-Carriero was a member of the Lady Crusaders for eight years. The group consists of mothers, grandmothers, stepmothers and guardians who sponsor a variety of fundraising and social events throughout the school year to benefit programs.

"She did a lot for the school," said Jo Ann Ahearn. "She made banners for all of the school functions and was always involved in our activities. It's bittersweet for us, but we felt that now was a good time to celebrate her life."

Ahearn and Jackie Longo serve as co-presidents of the Lady Crusaders and have spent countless hours organizing the annual fashion show and luncheon, to be held from noon to 4 p.m. at the VIP Club in New Rochelle. The fashion show, featuring J. Jill's spring line, is sold out.

Ahearn said the group hopes to raise about $10,000 from the event and will use some of the money to create a memorial garden on the school grounds in White Plains.

Reach Richard Liebson at rliebson@lohud.com or 914-694-3534.

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