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Student at Teaneck School Accused of Sexual Assault

Teen charged with abusing 3-year-old boy at Leonia firehouse.

An 18-year-old developmentally disabled student at a Teaneck school is accused of sexually assaulting a 3-year-old boy at the Leonia firehouse, according to authorities and published reports.

In a statement released Sunday, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said Darius E. Levine, of Leonia, was arrested Friday after the boy told his father about the abuse. Levine “engaged in inappropriate sexual activity with a three year old male acquaintance,” Molinelli said, but did not release additional details.

Leonia police were alerted and called in investigators from the prosecutor’s Special Victims Unit, the statement said.

Levine, a student at Community High School in Teaneck, was charged with one count of second-degree sexual assault by touching and ordered held at the Bergen County Jail on $100,000 bail, with no ten percent option, according to the prosecutor. Sheriff’s records had no listing for Levine late Sunday and it was not immediately clear if he remained at the county jail.

The allegation led Leonia officials to close the fire department’s stationhouse for all but emergency response uses last week, the Record reported. The victim is reportedly the son of a firefighter who had gone behind a fire truck as his father stood nearby when the alleged abuse took place.

Hearing his son scream, the boy’s father ran over and saw Levine running away, Leonia Fire Chief David Bohnert told the newspaper, adding children are not left unattended at the station. 

In an interview with PIX11, Levine’s parents said their son most likely didn’t understand what happened. His disabilities were described as physical and developmental.

“We have to believe it to be true, because of the people involved, because they are trustworthy people and there was no reason for them to say otherwise,” his mother, Catherine Banas, said in the report. We want them to know how sorry we are about what happened.”

Levine is well known in Leonia, marching in the borough’s Memorial Day parade and speaking at council meetings. An October 2009 article published in the Leonia Life newspaper notes Levine was called “Mr. Mayor” in town and featured him raising a flag alongside then-Mayor Mary Heveren.

It was not immediately clear if Levine’s disabilities would factor into the prosecution. An arraignment was scheduled for June 25.

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Tee Smyth June 17, 2013 at 01:21 PM
Whaaaaaat? This is horrible. Absolutely horrible.
shimon baum June 17, 2013 at 01:53 PM
"in a statement released Sunday, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said Darius E. Levine, of Leonia, was arrested Friday after the boy told his father about the abuse. Levine “engaged in inappropriate sexual activity with a three year old male acquaintance,” Molinelli said, but did not release additional details." Why say that it was inappropriate there is no such thing as appropriate sexual activity with a child that age.
Lisa Dee June 17, 2013 at 10:10 PM
Tee, Absolutely horrible. Is the other persons comment "there is no such thing as inappropriate sexual activity" is he kidding? Does he not follow the news to know just how many sick people live among us. That comment is weird gives me the creeps.
Lisa Dee June 17, 2013 at 11:15 PM
Sorry Shimon, I read your comment quickly and misinterpeted what you said.
John Blackthorn June 18, 2013 at 12:27 AM
When I heard this earlier today I had no idea that someone like Darius would do something like this. You see, I go to school with Darius for a couple of years now and continue to go today. There are a few of "shady" kids at the school but none more than Darius. He always hung out near the girls of the school which always stuck me as odd but never really gave me a sence that he would do something like this. But then I learned more about Darius and his collection of photos he keeps of all the girls he has had pictures with. He even asked out a girl (not mentioning names) to prom via video. Speaking of which the police department should look into Darius' locker to check those "photos" I mentioned.

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