Wednesday, March 26, 2014

11-Year-Old Charged In Massive Fire

Seneca County Sheriff's investigators announced Wednesday that they found the person responsible for a massive fire in the Town of Ovid: an 11-year-old boy....

According to the Seneca County Sheriff's Office, an 11-year-old was playing with a lighter and accidentally set trash on fire behind a Chinese restaurant. He tried to put it out but couldn't, and ran away. Propane tanks behind the buildings turned it into a massive fire. Wednesday, he was charged with arson....

The sheriff's office is not naming the boy, who is charged as a juvenile. He's charged with arson in the fourth degree. The town attorney explained that's because the sheriff says the boy recklessly started a fire, but wasn't trying to set fire to the buildings.

”The judge would be required, if (the boy) is found liable, to do the least restrictive disposition that's consistent with the needs and best interests of the child, as well as the protection of the community,” said Ovid Town Attorney Steven Getman. “So, the judge would balance all of those things.”

The boy’s case will be referred to family court, according to the sheriff’s office. Getman said if the boy is found guilty, he could be sent to a juvenile detention facility, placed on probation, given counseling or treatment—that's all up to the judge.

The charges against the juvenile are accusations and a respondent is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law, Getman noted.

For more information on the Ovid Fire Victim's Fund, click here.