SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

June 3, 2014

Update: Sheriff says Chism attacked DYS worker

DANVERS —

Philip Chism, the teen charged with murdering Danvers High math teacher Colleen Ritzer last fall, attacked an employee at the Dorchester facility where he is awaiting trial,  Essex County Sheriff Frank Cousins has confirmed.

Chism, 15, was taken to Boston Medical Center for a mental health evaluation following the incident Monday. He is now under guard by Essex County sheriff's deputies, Cousins said. 

Chism, who is being tried as an adult in last October's killing at the school, had been housed at the Department of Youth Services Metropolitan Detention Center in Dorchester at the request of the sheriff's department, due to his age.

A spokesman for the agency that runs the facility could not confirm details of the attack on a female employee or whether Chism was involved, but said the agency is working with state police. 

“The Department of Youth Services is working closely with law enforcement to investigate an assault that took place on a member of the staff at our Dorchester facility," said Alec Loftus. The agency does not disclose information about those in custody at the facility, citing juvenile and medical privacy laws. 

Loftus said he could not disclose details about any injuries sustained by the worker. 

Jake Wark, a spokesman for the Suffolk District Attorney's office, said that while he cannot confirm the identity of the person under investigation, state police assigned to his office were sent to investigate the incident yesterday and that the investigation is "very active." No one has been charged as of this afternoon, he said. 

Chism's attorney, Denise Regan, could not be reached for comment. 

Loftus, from DYS, also said the agency is conducting a review of the incident. "The safety and well-being of our staff is of primary concern, and a full review of this incident will be conducted to identify any necessary security enhancements at the facility.”

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis. Staff reporter Jill Harmacinski contributed to this report.

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