Cambria juvenile faces charges

EBENSBURG – Cambria Township police have filed juvenile charges against a sixth-grade Central Cambria Middle School boy involving alleged sexual abuse of other male students.

“We filed charges to appease some people,” Cambria Township Police Chief Mark Westrick said

Westrick could not comment on the investigation or any specific charges filed against the student because the individual is a juvenile.

But he said that police do not consider the case to include serious criminal charges.

Instead, the student will go before the juvenile court system and may receive behavioral or physiological help, he said.

School officials have been cooperative in the investigation, Westrick said.

During Monday’s school board meeting district officials declined to comment on the investigation citing confidential student issues.

“We’re going to be following district policy as far as consequences,” Superintendent Vincent DiLeo said Tuesday.

Since parents first heard about the incident last week, additional students have come forward and alleged sexual abuse, said Patrice Ressler, a concerned parent who spoke during Monday’s school board meeting.

Ressler said she understands the student facing charges is serving an in-school suspension. She was the only parent to speak during the school board’s public comment period Monday evening.

Student safety in the wake of a written threat of violence discovered in the high school was also a concern during Monday’s meeting.

During the meeting, DiLeo read a letter from concerned parents, which called for $2 donations from each district family to help fund the cost of hiring an off-duty Cambria Township officer for the remainder of the school year.

The officer was hired in response to a written threat of a school shooting that was supposed to have occurred on Friday, a day before the high school prom.

“Today is scheduled to be the last day,” of the officer’s patrol at the school, DiLeo said Tuesday.

During Monday’s school board meeting, Ressler told officials it was “unacceptable” to allow a lapse in police coverage.

The district is looking into securing grants to hire a school resource officer for the 2013-14 school year, DiLeo told school board members.

State and local police will continue to patrol the campus through the end of the year, DiLeo said.

DiLeo commended parents for taking the lead to fund the officer’s pay for the remainder of the year and insisted the district is a safe learning environment for students.

“The day on Friday went like clock work,” DiLeo said of the date named in the written threat.

And Saturday’s prom “went off without a hitch,” he added.

Mirror Staff Writer Zach Geiger is at 946-7535.