NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

June 4, 2014

Official: Chism assaults DYS worker

Staffer not seriously injured; police investigating

DANVERS — Philip Chism, the teen charged with murdering his Danvers High math teacher, has assaulted a female employee at the Dorchester detention center 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, according to Cousins.

The employee did not suffer serious physical injury, and she declined medical attention at the scene, according to the Suffolk district attorney’s office.

Cousins knew that the woman worked for DYS, but he did not know in what capacity. Her identity was not released.

“She is fairly new to the system. ... She was very, very shaken up,” Cousins said.

Chism, who is being tried as an adult in last October’s killing of Colleen Ritzer at the high school, has 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 DYS spokesman could not confirm details of the assault or confirm that 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 spokesman Alec Loftus. The agency does not disclose information about those in custody at the facility, citing juvenile and medical privacy laws.

Loftus said he also 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. He said that the investigation is “very active.”

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