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Three Albion middle school students charged with conspiracy

Staff Reports Posted 8 November 2019 at 2:32 pm
Chief Nenni

Albion Police Chief Roland Nenni discusses the arrest of three middle school students at a press conference this afternoon.

‘The campus is safe. This threat has been mitigated.’ – Albion Police Chief Roland Nenni

ALBION – Three Albion students have been charged with felonies for conspiring to harm fellow classmates and staff at Carl I. Bergerson Middle School.

The students, whose names will not be released due to their youth, are all facing the charge of 2nd Degree Conspiracy, a class B felony. They are accused of conspiring to commit murder against at least one other student at the school.

Albion Police Chief Roland Nenni held a press conference today at the Village of Albion offices to discuss the charges. He was joined by Orleans County District Attorney Joe Cardone, Albion School Superintendent Michael Bonnewell, Albion Mayor Eileen Banker, and several representatives from the New York State Police, the Orleans County Probation Department, and the Orleans County Department of Mental Health.

“We averted a crisis in the Albion school,” Nenni said. “The school is safe.”

The students allegedly used Discord, a social media platform for gamers, to make grave physical threats to at least one other student. The threats spread to other social media platforms as the threads were shared, and Albion police were tipped off on Monday. Nenni said that the police immediately increased their presence at the school, and that the suspects were apprehended shortly thereafter.

Police seized various items that included legally-purchased firearms. Nenni gave no further details on the seized items, citing the ongoing investigation.

Conspiracy in the Second Degree is more serious than a simple threat. It implies that the parties involved have committed at least one overt act to conspire to commit a felony, in this case murder. Nenni said that the students had chosen a date to act out their plans. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.

The students have been suspended from school, according to Bonnewell. They are not in police custody at this time, which is the usual case for minors. Cardone said the case has been referred to the Probation Department and Family Court, and that the students’ families have been cooperating with the investigation.

Nenni credited the community for bringing the matter to the police’s attention. He urged parents to continue to monitor their children’s online activities, and he invited the public to continue to report unusual activity to the police so they can act quickly to avert threats. The district’s Threat Assessment Team – with assistance from the Albion Police Department, Orleans County Mental Health Department, Orleans County District Attorney’s Office and a specialist from the FBI – were able to act quickly to neutralize the situation.