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The Latest: Defense: Supervisors decided on abuse reports

December 23, 2018

EXTON, Pa. (AP) — The Latest on charges against two former workers accused of encouraging rather than reporting a fight at a center for young people with developmental and behavior disorders (all times local):

4:20 p.m.

A center for young people with developmental and behavior disorders is strongly contesting a defense attorney’s allegation that employees were encouraged to let supervisors decide whether to report problems.

Twenty-five-year-old Anthony Merrick of Coatesville and 24-year-old Rayne Portela of Glenside are charged with failure to report, child endangerment and conspiracy in connection with the July incident at the Devereux Kanner Center in West Whiteland Township.

Portela’s attorney, Evan Kelly, alleged Sunday that supervisors encouraged employees to go to them before reporting suspected abuse, and the supervisor would then decide whether the matter would be reported.

Devereux senior vice president Leah Yaw said the organization trains employees to understand that “every Devereux staff member is a mandated reporter” and is “outraged” if a person “chooses to deliberately flout that responsibility.”

She accused Kelly of “looking to shift blame from one individual onto the back of a 100-plus-year-old charity, committed to providing compassionate, expert care to children and families in need.”

1:20 p.m.

An attorney representing one of two former workers accused of encouraging rather than reporting a fight at a center for young people with developmental and behavior disorders is alleging that employees were encouraged to let supervisors decide whether to report problems.

Twenty-five-year-old Anthony Merrick of Coatesville and 24-year-old Rayne Portela of Glenside are charged with failure to report, child endangerment and conspiracy in connection with the July incident at the Devereux Kanner Center in West Whiteland Township.

Portela’s attorney, Evan Kelly, said Sunday that she had been employed there for about three months. He alleges that supervisors encouraged employees to go to them before reporting suspected abuse, and the supervisor would then decide whether the matter would be reported. A Deveraux official didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

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