November, 22 2017

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New York: Teens Charged in Sex Crime at Residential Treatment Center

A 17-year-girl at Hawthorne Cedar Knolls was charged this afternoon with facilitating a sex crime committed by two teenagers against a 13-year-old girl on campus.

Acts facilitated by female participant

The girl was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor, for allegedly arranging the sex acts that occurred in a wooded area of campus, police said.

"She facilitated the acts, but she was not present during the acts themselves," Mount Pleasant Police Chief Louis Alagno said.

The Accused

The boys, both 17, were charged with second-degree sexual abuse, a misdemeanor, this morning in Mount Pleasant Town Court. They were remanded on $2,500 bail to the Westchester County jail, pending their next court appearances Thursday.

The 13-year-old was not physically injured in the alleged abuse, which police said occurred about 2 p.m. yesterday. Staffers went looking for the girl because she failed to show up for class. When they found her, she reported the attack.

Police would not say what the sex acts involved.

Police were called "in a timely manner," Alagno said, and the teens were arrested. The girl, meanwhile, was examined at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla and released.

The judge sealed the court records and police said they would not identify the boys because they may qualify for juvenile-offender status.

Such status can only be granted by a judge at the conclusion of court proceedings.

The Investigation Continues

The investigation is continuing. An assistant Westchester County district attorney has been sent to interview the victim, Alagno said.

The Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services runs Cedar Knolls on Linda Avenue, which houses about 300 boys and girls, many from broken homes in New York City who have behavioral problems.

The alleged abuse is the latest of several at Cedar Knolls and Pleasantville Cottage School, the town's other residential treatment center.

In November, three teens at Hawthorne Cedar Knolls are to be sentenced for the February rape of another 13-year-old girl there.

Where to go from Here

In light of the previous attacks, two state agencies are jointly investigating the two residential treatment centers, partly to determine whether more should be done to secure the centers and surrounding communities.

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