In response to a News 19 investigation, the City of Columbia has now released a statement following the July 28 assault of a child at a city-run park.
The incident took place at Lorick Park. A police report explains that a 16-year-old is accused of the crime. Investigators tell News19 they plan to prosecute the teen as an adult.
News 19 has been investigating this story and first reported on the incident Monday. We made several attempts to hear from city leaders. They have now released a statement saying:
"City officials are aware of an incident that occurred at Lorick Park on July 28, 2017. A criminal investigation was immediately initiated and is ongoing. A concurrent administrative review was initiated and disciplinary actions were taken involving staff in the Parks and Recreation Department, which resulted in terminations, suspensions, work improvement notices and staff reassignments. Organizational assessments are underway in the department and, if necessary, additional actions or departmental changes may be forthcoming. The care and protection of children is of the utmost importance and the City Manager is personally focused on ensuring their safety. Due to the sensitive nature of this ongoing case, as well as, the ongoing administrative review, it is out of an abundance of caution and concern, that City officials cannot make further comments at this time."
Columbia police tell News19 the 5-year-old was attending a weekly summer camp at Lorick Park when the incident took place. Children ages 6 to 12 attended the camp.