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.