Four former workers at a Department of Youth Services facility for boys charged in juvenile courts on Long Island were convicted on child abuse charges by a jury in Superior Court on Wednesday.
Jalise Andrade, 37, and Silvio Depina, 40, both of Brockton; Hermano Joseph, 28, of Taunton, and Ainsley LaRoche, 44, of Roxbury, were each found guilty of one or more of the following charges: beating, sexually assaulting or threatening four teenage boys at the now-shuttered Casa Isla facility, according to a statement from the Suffolk County district attorney’s office.
The DA’s office said these “ritualized punishments” took place between April and August 2014, while the defendants were employed by Volunteers of America on a Department of Youth Services contract. The workers were assigned to care for and provide treatment for the boys they allegedly abused.
The defendants were convicted of the following specific charges:
- Andrade was convicted of one count of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon;
- Depina of two counts of indecent assault and battery, three counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and one count each of witness intimidation and threats to commit a crime;
- Joseph of two counts of indecent assault and battery and one count each of assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and threats to commit a crime;
- LaRoche of three counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and one count of threats to commit a crime.
The victims were targeted because they violated the facility’s rules, returned after being discharged or were about to be discharged, with the abuse serving as “a warning not to return,” prosecutors said. The statement details the abuse included a punishment referred to as “orange chicken,” in which the defendants pulled the victim’s pants down and beat the victim with an orange sandal.
Casa Isla was closed in 2015 after a state investigation led to a grand jury probe, returning the indictments of the now-convicted defendants and four others. One defendant, Raymond Pizarro, of Hyde Park, will be tried separately because of a death in his attorney's family. The charges against the others have since been dismissed.
“These verdicts reflect unconscionable behavior by adults who abused and violated the young people in their care,” District Attorney John P. Pappas said in the statement. “But the verdicts also reflect the courage of those young people, who stood up against threats and intimidation to disclose the abuse. And they reflect absolutely tireless work by prosecutors, victim advocates, and state troopers to build this case and ensure the victims’ voices were heard loud and clear.”
Prosecutors asked Judge Jeffrey Locke to revoke the defendants’ bails, pending sentencing later this week. He denied the motion.
The defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on Friday in Suffolk Superior Court.