Two charged with trespass in connection with Massena school vandalism; more arrests possible
By ANDY GARDNER
MASSENA -- Village police have arrested two teens as part of what the chief describes as an ongoing investigation into vandalism at Massena High School, but they aren’t naming the suspects, and more arrests are possible.
On Thursday, police say they charged a 17-year-old male and an 18-year-old male with third-degree criminal trespass, a misdemeanor.Massena police Chief Adam Love said he was advised by District Attorney Gary Pasqua to not release their names, and added that his department will no longer identify teenaged suspects.
“That’s what the DA’s office advised … we’re going to start now,” Love said.
“If you look at criminal procedure law, anyone who is an apparently eligible youthful offender, those accusatory instruments should be filed as sealed. Youthful offender applies to anyone under the age of 19,” Pasqua said, adding that there are exceptions for felony cases. “Like I told the chief, I would not put the name out there in the public based on that statute.”
As late as Saturday, July 7, Massena police were releasing names of teenage suspects. Police in their blotter report on that day included the name of a 17-year-old from Massena who was charged with traffic infractions.
Pasqua said he spoke with the chief earlier this week, but that was after that report, when Love contacted him as a courtesy to say they would be putting out a news release about the arrests and to expect calls from the press. That’s when they discussed withholding the suspects’ identities.
“I don’t think there’s anything that makes the case special. I’d advise them (police) anytime there’s someone charged with a misdemeanor under age 19,” Pasqua said.
Love said the probe into the June 6 break-in and vandalism at Massena High School continues. School officials say the incident was part of a “senior prank” that Superintendent Pat Brady last month described as “concerning and upsetting.”
When asked if he expects to charge more suspects, Love replied “we are continuing our investigation on this, yes.”
There have been concerns in the community and on social media that animals may have been abused as part of the vandalism.
WWNY Channel 7 in Watertown reported that a chicken was injured in the incident.