A worker at a now-closed city group home for troubled youth has been arrested on charges he doctored a logbook to falsely show he was checking regularly on three teenage residents the night they slipped out and raped a woman, authorities announced Thursday.
Denzel Thompson, 24, was expected to appear in court later in the day, following his arrest on charges of falsifying official documents, officials said. It wasn't immediately clear if Thompson had a lawyer.
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Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters, whose officers arrested Thompson with investigators from the Brooklyn district attorney's office, said in a statement that the arrest shows the "tragic results" of not following protocol.
Thompson made checks every half hour on the teens as required from 11 p.m. May 31 until 1:30 a.m. at the six-bed Boys Town facility in a Brooklyn brownstone, officials said. But for the next five hours, he wrote in the logbook: "All youths down in bed" every half hour, but never made the checks and was actually on a floor below, they said.
The Associated Press first reported the arrest.
Meanwhile, a window alarm on the boys' floor had been disabled and the teens escaped and made their way to Manhattan, where they encountered a 33-year-old woman at an Internet cafe in Chinatown at around 3 a.m., police said. Surveillance video shows the boys pawing at the woman, prosecutors said. They pulled her outside, then to a nearby building where they raped her in a stairwell, prosecutors said. They took her keys, cellphone and credit cards and left her there, prosecutors said.
The woman, missing her camisole and underpants, eventually made her way to a nearby deli. While she was being taken to a hospital, the boys were using her keys to get into her building — but fled when they discovered someone inside, prosecutors said. Police said they also have video of the boys at her apartment.
The nonprofit Boys Town had been contracted by the city's child welfare agency to operate the home. A spokeswoman for the Nebraska-based organization said in a statement that the nonprofit is cooperating with investigators and conducting their own probe. Thompson and another worker at the home were fired last week. The second worker was also being investigated.
The Administration for Children's Services said last week that they were closing the home, which was part of a citywide juvenile justice program called Close to Home that tries to house minors in residences near their relatives and schools instead of in far-off detention centers. The boys were the only three residents there.
The teens, Emanuel Burrowes, Sanat Asliev and Erik Pek, have been charged as adults with crimes including rape and attempted rape. An attorney for Burrowes said last week that the boy just finished ninth grade and was a month away from completing a program for juvenile delinquents. Asliev's lawyer said his client was an emigrant from the former Soviet Union and was placed in the group home by a family court judge.
An attorney for Pek hasn't returned a phone message. A live-in companion of his mother's told The New York Times last week that Pek "would never do something like this."
This story has been corrected to show that Thompson was a worker, not a supervisor.