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Pa. Boy Charged With Sexual Assault

November 18, 2004

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ An 11-year-old boy sexually assaulted another boy in a middle-school stairway after chasing the victim from a bathroom, authorities said.

School officials said they would try to determine where employees were at the time of the attack Tuesday morning.

``There should be no circumstances in which children can go anywhere in that school for any length of time unobserved,″ school district CEO Paul Vallas said. Employees could be fired if a dereliction of duty occurred.

The victim, 12, was treated at a hospital. He will be moved to another school, Vallas said.

The suspect had been cutting class, according to Richard Barth, vice president of Edison Schools Inc., which runs the middle school in north Philadelphia.

Police said the victim was choked and threatened in the bathroom before running off. The suspect then chased the boy into the stairway and sexually assaulted him.

The suspect was charged as a juvenile with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse.

Both boys are special education students in the sixth grade, but are not in the same class.

New York-based Edison Schools, the nation’s largest for-profit operator of public schools, was hired to run 20 of the city’s elementary and middle schools as part of a reform effort that began in 2002.

Colleges, nonprofit groups and other for-profit companies were also given contracts to operate schools, but Edison was assigned most of the schools considered to be the toughest in the district.

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