For the three youths being hauled into family court on arson charges stemming from the Wiard Plow fire on May 8, justice -- such as it is -- will be swift.
Family court operates much faster than adult court, according to Assistant County Attorney Durin Rogers.
Rogers spoke on the condition that his comments not be construed as speaking specifically about the arson case, but in general about how family court operates and what a youth facing felony charges might expect. He is prohibited by law from talking about specific cases in family court, where all matters are kept confidential.
The outcome of a case such as this could range from conditional discharge, to two years probation, to placement in a limited-security facility for up to 18 months.
That's as close as a youth charged with a felony might come to prison, unless the young offender committed one of a series of offenses eligible for juvenile offender status.
As a JO, a youth could be tried as an adult.
The charges in this case do not fall within that statutory definition, Rogers said.
Some cases, he said, are just seen as acts of juvenile delinquency.
Asked if the public will ever know the outcome of the case, Rogers said he couldn't comment.
Det. Todd Crossett told WBTA this morning that the arrest of the three 14-year-olds is the last the public will ever hear of the case.
As for the parents of youths in such cases, they face no charges tied directly to their children's actions, and are not technically financially liable for the damage caused by a minor to private property, Rogers said.
In family court, there are hearings and respondents (called defendants in adult court) who receive legal respresentation. A convicted youth can be ordered to pay restitution, but not the parents, Rogers said.
That doesn't mean the property owner victimized by an act of vandalism can't sue the parents. But in order to sue them, the property owner would have to know who the youth was who committed the crime. Asked if there was a procedure for a property owner to find out the name of defendant in family court, Rogers said he couldn't comment on that.
Crossett told WBTA this morning that detectives don't believe the three youths meant to burn down a building.
"I don't think there was the thought when they went in there to say, 'Let's burn the whole thing down,'" Crossett said.
With the old wood and chemicals in the building, Crossett said the youths' fascination with fire became something too big too fast.
"I think the fire just got really out of hand really fast," Crossett said.
The foundations of the old factory buildings have been cleared of debris, as the pictures with this post show. Owner Tom Mancuso was not available to comment today on the future of the space.
As the chapter on the May 8 fire comes to a close, Mancuso's company is also pushing ahead with the Masse Gateway Project.