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Police: Youth Home Fails to Make Timely Reports of Sexual Abuse

The Home for Little Wanderers in Walpole, from a 2012 file photo.
The Home for Little Wanderers in Walpole, from a 2012 file photo. Jonathan Wiggs, The Boston Globe

An alleged rape at a home for at-risk youth in Walpole went unreported for 12 hours after it was known to staff members at the facility, the Walpole Times reports.

The incident underscores what town police reportedly describe as a growing and disturbing trend at the Home for Little Wanderers, where serious campus crimes have gone unreported or are only made known to authorities long afterwards.

Employees at the home are subject to laws requiring the immediate, mandatory reporting of any known sexual abuse of its students, The Walpole Times reports:

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In this most recent instance, a 13-year-old boy allegedly snuck into a 9-year-old boy's room at about midnight on the morning of Friday, May 9 and raped him, police said. Walpole Deputy Police Chief John Carmichael said multiple sexual acts were performed against the victim's will.

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Police said a similar sexual assault at the school went unreported in January when a...runaway was allegedly sexually assaulted in the woods. The mother of the child was the one to inform the police of the crime -- well after the school found out about it, Carmichael said.

Also this year, police allegedly learned of an ongoing issue of a child exposing himself to fellow students after it had already occurred several times. Police were reportedly called the next time it happened and the child was arrested.

The home released a statement calling the Times report “irresponsible” in “labeling” the incident as a sexual assault when its reporters were “not part of the investigation.”

The home’s executive vice president, Michael Pearis, also released another statement to WBZ News today, further criticizing the town’s police department.

"The Home would further extend that sentiment to the Walpole Police Department for the manner in which they continue to brief their local paper on such matters rather than communicating directly and professionally with the management of The Home."

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