Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Leonia Sued in Molestation Case

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Leonia Sued in Molestation Case

Article excerpt

LEONIA -- A lawsuit filed Tuesday claims that town officials knew or had good reason to believe that a teen accused of molesting a child at the borough firehouse last year was a danger to others, an attorney for the child's family claimed.

"We have information that he's acted this way before," said Rosemarie Arnold, referring to Darius Levine, the developmentally disabled 19-year-old charged with sexually assaulting a 3-year-old boy in June 2013. She declined to elaborate, but added, "He's acted sexually inappropriately on prior occasions."

Arnold filed suit Tuesday on behalf of the boy, now 4, and his parents. Named in the lawsuit are Levine, Levine's parents, the borough of Leonia and the borough Fire Department.

Arnold claims in the lawsuit that Levine's parents and borough officials "had actual knowledge and/or a reasonable reason to know" that Levine would engage in sexually abusive behavior and that they failed to protect her client from harm. She alleges that by allowing Levine in the firehouse without supervision, the borough and its firefighters created a "dangerous and palpably unreasonable condition."

Arnold claims that the borough retaliated against the alleged victim's father, a firefighter in Leonia. The firefighter, whose name is being withheld to protect his son's identity, has been suspended from the Fire Department because he failed a mandatory criminal background check.

Borough Attorney Brian Giblin did not return a call for comment. Mayor John DeSimone said, "I can't comment on it. I would like to comment, but I can't." Levine's parents did not return a call for comment.

Levine is charged with second-degree sexual assault. He is accused of touching a 3-year-old boy while both were at the firehouse. According to one fire official, the boy had gone behind a firetruck while his father stood less than 20 feet away. …

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