No charges against Pine Bush schools

District attorney: criminal charges barred by 'infancy,' statute of limitations and lack of evidence

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  • Pine Bush school

PINE BUSH — No criminal charges will be brought against the Pine Bush school district after an investigation of alleged anti-Semitic discrimination and bullying, Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler announced Tuesday.

The New York State Police did the investigation, which Hoovler described as "exhaustive" and "painstaking," resulting in more than 1,500 pages of material.

“I am satisfied that they thoroughly and professionally followed up every possible aspect of this investigation," Hoovler said. "While anti-Semitism is abhorrent, not every wrongful action, particularly when committed by children, can give rise to a criminal prosecution. I am also satisfied that there was no criminal wrongdoing committed by Pine Bush school officials in the matter."

He said it was up to state "administrative and regulatory agencies" to decide whether the school district complied with all of the mandates of the Education Law and other civil statutes.

"I am hopeful that the school district and the Pine Bush community will move on from this painful episode with a renewed commitment to ensure all students are treated, and treat each other, respectfully," said Hoovler, who was joined by Captain Pierce Gallagher of the New York State Police in making the announcement.

Allegations of persistent and longstanding anti-Semitism were made in a federal civil lawsuit filed against the Pine Bush Central School District and other civil defendants.

The police looked into the actions of elementary and middle school students, and a small number of high school students. The state police and district attorney's office concluded that many of the alleged acts were committed by children too young to be charged with those acts as criminals — the so-called defense of “infancy" — and that others were precluded by the statute of limitations. Moreover, the investigation revealed no evidence that any school official had engaged in any criminal conduct.

Hoovler commended the state police and Senior Assistant District Attorney David Byrne for their work in the investigation.

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