Rape in School - Westchester, Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services In The Hot Seat
SCHOOL FOUL-UP IN RAPE
By LORENA MONGELLI and ANDY GELLER
New York Post
February 28, 2007
Staffers at a Westchester school for disturbed kids waited four hours to report the beating and rape of a 13-year-old girl - holding their own probe and even collecting forensic evidence, a furious police chief said yesterday.
Chief Louis Alagno declined to say that workers at the Hawthorne Cedar Knolls residential school in Hawthorne tried to cover up the rape, for which three boys in the program were charged.
But he fumed, "It was poor practice on their part. It complicated our investigation and made it more difficult . . . It's obvious we should have been notified sooner.
"I'm not certain it's criminal but it's certainly not advisable."
Court papers said the attack occurred at 7:30 p.m. Monday, when the boys, ages 15 and 16, dragged the girl into a vacant building while punching and slapping her. Then they ripped off her clothes and raped her, the papers said.
The three boys were later arrested and charged as adults with first-degree rape.
Alagno said the victim reported the rape to staffers immediately, but the school waited four hours - until 11:30 p.m. - while employees conducted their own investigation.
"When we got to the crime scene, they had forensic evidence packaged for us," the angry chief said.
Asked if evidence had been compromised, he said, "I hope not, but that is a possibility."
The school, which houses 104 boys and girls ages 8 to 18, is run by the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services, a social-services agency.
The board later issued a statement that did not address the four-hour delay in notifying cops. It said: "We have informed the police of a disturbing incident involving residents at one of our facilities. We are conducting an investigation and cooperating fully with the police."
The suspects - (MINORS NAME REMOVED), 15, of Brooklyn; (MINORS NAME REMOVED), 15, of The Bronx; and (MINORS NAME REMOVED), 16, of Yonkers - were held without bail at their arraignment yesterday.