Salvatore Anello was charged on October 28 in the death of his 18-month-old granddaughter Chloe, who dropped from an open window on the 11th floor of Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas on July 17, and onto the concrete of the Pan American dock II. He's blamed the cruise ship operator for leaving the window open.
The criminal charges are "pouring salt on the open wounds of this grieving family", said Michael Winkleman, an attorney representing the family in a civil suit he's preparing against Royal Caribbean.
Anello is being held on bond at $80,000 and is next scheduled to appear in court on November 20, according to the Associated Press.
Chloe Weigand fell from a high window on board the Royal Caribbean cruise ship on Sunday. Chloe was used to being next to glass, having a habit of banging on the panels at the hockey rink at home while attending her brother's games and practices.
Police hold him responsible for his granddaughter's death, but the family blames the cruise line for the tragedy, CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan reports.
"Clearly this was a tragic accident and the family's singular goal remains for something like this never to happen again", Winkleman said in a statement to CNN on Monday. Kimberly Wiegand insisted that the grandfather never put her children in danger. "The thing that he has repeatedly told us is, 'I believed that there was glass, '" Kimberly said.
"There's no doubt this was an accident", Winkleman said. "She was his best friend".
A prosecutor in Puerto Rico said in a statement obtained by WSBT that Anello, the husband of the maternal grandmother, "negligently exposed the girl "through one of the windows on the 11th floor of the ship" and the girl fell from 115 feet". "And I just kept saying, 'Take me to my baby".
Alan said of Anello in the same interview: "I mean you can barely look at him without him crying".