Two teens who rappelled to freedom back in custody

Pair fled from third story of Frederick facility

June 14, 2000|By Todd Richissin | Todd Richissin,SUN STAFF

Two teens being held at the Victor Cullen Academy in Frederick County on drug charges were back in custody yesterday after a daring escape in which they rappelled three stories from their holding cells using clothing and bed linens.

Both were captured 12 miles from the facility by a state trooper about four hours after their escape. Maryland State Police returned them to Victor Cullen before anybody there knew they were missing.

Authorities said the youths committed no crimes during the short time they were free.

Two guards assigned to monitor the floor where the youths were placed on unpaid leave pending an investigation, said Bob Kannenberg, spokesman for the state's Department of Juvenile Justice.

Department policy requires guards to visually check on juvenile inmates every 15 minutes.

Victor Cullen and the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School in Baltimore County are run by the for-profit Youth Services International, which was called before a legislative committee in July after the rape of a staff member at Hickey and escapes at Victor Cullen.

Bishop L. Robinson, the juvenile justice agency's secretary, said disciplinary action will be taken after the investigation of the most recent incident.

"The department is now investigating this incident, and I will personally be contacting the Executive Director at Victor Cullen as well as Youth Services International management to discuss security at the facility," Robinson said in a statement.

The escape occurred about 1:30 a.m. Lt. Greg Shipley, a state police spokesman, said a trooper was patrolling Route 66 in Cavetown, Washington County, when he saw the teens walking along the road. After questioning them, he determined that they belonged at Victor Cullen, Shipley said.

The juvenile justice agency said additional charges could be filed against the youths after the investigation.

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