Doylestown >> A 15-year-old Sellersville youth was sent to a western Pennsylvania secure treatment center following his March 3 admission in Bucks County Juvenile Court that he tried to rape a fellow Pennridge High School student.
Kodi Hendricks was initially charged as an adult after his Oct. 17, 2014, arrest for the incident at the school about 6:40 a.m. that day, but the case was transferred in February to juvenile court. Juvenile court cases are generally not open to the public and press, but may be in cases involving felony charges such as this one, court officials said.
After answering “yes” to Bucks County Judge Rea Boylan’s questions of whether he was admitting to the charges and giving up his right to a trial, Hendricks was asked by Boylan to detail what happened during the incident.
“I don’t feel comfortable doing that,” Hendricks said.
Boylan then had Assistant District Attorney Matthew Lannetti read from the criminal complaint filed by the Pennridge Regional Police Department, pausing several times to have Boylan ask if Hendricks admitted to the portion just read.
Hendricks agreed with all the accusations except one stating that he had held a knife to the 15-year-old girl’s neck. Hendricks said he showed her the knife, but then put it in his pocket.
Reading from a prepared statement, the victim’s mother initially broke down crying, but was able to continue on and read the statement.
She said her daughter “has been working toward healing,” but has had nightmares and been afraid to be alone.
The woman said she has been haunted by the “what ifs” if her daughter had not been so strong in her resistance or if a teacher had not intervened.
Her anger has been replaced to a large degree, however, with sadness and a hope that Hendricks, whose life has included difficulties, will “take the time away to heal,” get mentoring and make changes to not repeat the wrong choices he made in this case, she said.
“He does not need to become his bad choice,” the woman said.
“I greatly admire your courage and compassion,” Boylan told the woman.
Boylan said the statement will be given to juvenile probation officers monitoring the case and asked the family to give updates on the girl in the future.
“Her life will be affected as she goes forward in life and you need to understand that,” Boylan told Hendricks.
Research shows that if people — and particularly young persons — understand the impact of their crimes, they are less likely to be a repeat offender, she said.
Hendricks will be sent to Adelphoi Village’s Middle Creek Secure Treatment Center where he will be able to get counseling and attend school, Boylan said. He must also write apology letters to the victims, she said.
The Middle Creek Secure Treatment Center is locked and youths in it are monitored at all times, according to Adelphoi information.
“Secure Treatment Centers are facilities for adjudicated youth who have committed serious offenses, are aggressive, runaway risks, have committed sex offenses, or display other serious delinquent behaviors,” according to the information.
There are separate Middle Creek facilities for males and females, with each having up to 14 youths ages 13 to 18.
“Balanced and Restorative justice (BARJ) principles are incorporated into programs emphasizing community service projects, restitution payments, competency development, and victim restoration,” according to the Adelphoi information.
“Adelphoi is a non-profit organization founded in 1971, providing an extensive network of community-based programs and services to over 1,200 children, youth and families on a daily basis,” according to information on www.adelphoi.org. “Our continuum of care enables us to successfully meet the needs of a broad scope of clients ages birth to 20 (male and female) including those classified as delinquent, dependent, mental health, and non-adjudicated youth.”
There are various counseling services available at Middle Creek, as well as an on-grounds charter school, according to the information. There are also programs to help participants with independent living or returning home after being discharged.
In answer to Boylan’s question, Hendricks’ family members at the court proceedings said the family is in agreement with the court’s decision.
Because of the distance to Westmoreland County, Hendricks would be moved to Middle Creek the following day, March 4, court officials said. He had been kept at Bucks County Youth Center since his arrest.
Calls to Lannetti’s office following the hearing for more information on the length of time Hendricks will have to remain at Middle Creek were not returned.