NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- All that can be known for sure right now is that someone is lying. The question is who. The public statements made by the New Rochelle Police Department, the New Rochelle Board of Education and the parent at the heart of this case do not add up.
In a press briefing this afternoon, New Rochelle police confirmed that the parent of a student victimized in the Isaac Young football team hazing scandal, met with police on Friday evening and that investigation remains "open".
New Rochelle Police Detective Captain Joseph Schaller said what the mother described has been characterized by police as "offensive contact" and that since the mother did not file a criminal complaint there is currently no criminal investigation. Schaller added that if what the mother had reported had been characterized as "sexual assault", police would have investigated on their own regardless of whether the mother filed a criminal complaint. At best, Schaller said when pressed, what the mother described amounted to "forcible touching", a form of sexual assault. How the police would distinguish between offensive contact, forcible touching and sexual assault without doing an investigation was not clear.
The mother said in a television interview Friday that she went to school officials in October but was never told of police involvement in the case. She added that she did not believe the school district was taking the matter seriously and that she planned to go to the police. Later that evening she did.
Schaller said that once she got there, the mother stated that she wanted to let the New Rochelle school district handle the matter. Schaller did not know why the mother would go to the police saying she was dissatisfied with the district's response and then tell police she preferred to let the school district handle the matter.
The police officer in charge of the case is Detective Ray Andolina. Schaller says that Andolina was called to Isaac E. Young Middle School on a report of "towel-whipping". Asked is that is a common occurrence -- school principal's calling police to report "towel-whipping" in the boy's locker room, Schaller said that police will respond to any call that is made.
Once at the school, Andolina met with school officials including Bongo but left without speaking to any of the alleged victims or their parents, including the Mom whose complaint caused Bongo to call the police in the first police. Schaller confirmed police never interviewed anyone after being called to the school by Isaac E. Young Principal Dr. Anthony Bongo.
"We were told that incident involved 'towel-snapping'", said Schaller. "That did not rise to the level of a police matter."
Schaller could not explain why the principal of a middle school would call the police to report a case of towel-snapping in a boy's locker room.
The mother says she reported in October what her son described Friday in a television interview and to police -- that the boy was repeatedly assaulted and, at one point, shoved into a corner by several boys who "dry-humped" him in a sexual way.
Schaller said that had they been informed in October of what the mother and son reported to police on Friday, the police would have done an investigation but that the police would not conduct an investigation now based on receiving that same information late last week.
Internal reports at Isaac E. Young, the District's central office and the school board describe an incident involving all 33 members of the football team and various forms of assault.
In a statement released last week, the school district stated "a thorough investigation was launched by the principal that involved the New Rochelle Police Department". The police say there was no investigation. The only determination made was that "towel-snapping" is not criminal activity.
The district has yet to explain why an incident of "towel-snapping" would result in student suspensions and the cancellation of the last three games of the football season.
RELATED: This conduct of Detective Andolina has been the source of reporting on Talk of the Sound before.
After we reported on this story, Security Guard Assaults 8th Grader at Isaac E. Young Middle School, the guard was suspended. Andolina repeatedly rebuffed attempts by the mother to file a criminal complaint and the, after we broke the story, told the Journal News that if the mother was really concerned she would have filed a criminal complaint. Andolina was also involved in the infamous Donna Henry sexting case, New Rochelle Police Destroy Records in Child Pornography Case at Albert Leonard Middle School
News12 ran a story on the guard/assault case: New Rochelle Isaac Young Middle School Student Alleges Security Guard Abuse
One contributor provided a detailed, then current, summary of the problems going on at the school: Isaac E. Young Middle School: Depraved Indifference Cultural Epicenter of the of the City School District of New Rochelle
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