CDC: Blood-sucking ‘kissing bug’ confirmed in Delaware; Pennsylvania may be next

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed that a bug with a bite that can lead to serious cardiac and gastrointestinal complications, or even death if the person bitten goes without treatment, has been found in Delaware.

A family in Kent County reported to state health and agriculture officials that an odd insect bit their child’s face in July 2018. The bug was then sent off to the CDC, where it was identified as Triatoma sanguisuga, also known as the “kissing bug.”

It’s known as the kissing bug because it usually bites humans on exposed skin, like the face.

The kissing bug can carry a parasite that can infect a person or animal’s blood with Chagas disease, which presents itself in two phases. The initial acute phase, according to the World Health Organization, involves more mild symptoms, like fever, fatigue, rash, muscle pain, and vomiting. The chronic phase can lead to more serious conditions, like swollen liver, glands or eyelids, or even enlarged heart, esophagus or colon.

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Fortunately, the Delaware girl who was bitten by the blood-sucking bug did not get sick in any way. 

While Chagas disease is common in Latin America and still relatively rare in the U.S., the CDC said kissing bugs have now been found in about 30 states, including Pennsylvania. 

The insects have also been found along the border of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, meaning they may be crossing into the Garden State. 

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Berks County Barbershop Paying Kids To Read

KUTZTOWN, Pa. (CBS) – A Berks County barbershop is paying kids to read during haircuts. “City Cuts Barbershop” in Kutztown will pay $3 to kids who read out loud while in the chair.

The owner says he came up with the initiative to help kids build their self-esteem.

“”Books By Kids” Our goal is for kids to build their confidence up by reading in front of others while getting a haircut,” said the barbershop in a Facebook post.

He hopes the initiative will help them overcome their fear of public speaking.

Brotherly Love: Teens Power Snack Success

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A team of teens is running a non-profit that’s feeding kids and teaching lessons in business and health. Every Wednesday, a West Philadelphia test kitchen is teeming with teenagers.

“It’s youth power all the way,” said 17-year-old Simin Deveauxbray.

These students are part of Rebel Ventures. It’s a non-profit business run by high schoolers in partnership with the Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania.

“I like it here. There’s all good vibes. There’s no negativity,” said 14-year-old Kennysha Stanley.

Rebel Ventures got started a few years ago, explains co-executive director Tre’Cia Gibson, after they won a pitch contest to develop a healthy breakfast snack for schools.

“It had to have a half cup of fruit, 36 grams of grain, and half of that had to be whole grain,” Gibson said.

In 2017, they debuted their first product, Rebel Crumbles, which are now served twice a month to Philadelphia school children. Every breakfast is an opportunity for a taste test. That’s information they’re using in the test kitchen to develop some new flavors.

“We were making vegan banana apple,” Deveauxbray said, “and vegan apple crumble.”

So far, Rebel Ventures has sold 1 million Crumbles to the school district. Gibson is now 20 and a college freshman, and she’s teaching the business to the younger students.

“I’ve learned how to work in teams. I’ve learned how to plan events,” Deveauxbray said.

Fifteen-year-old William Chaney said, “I’ve learned how to write professional emails. I’ve learned how to network with people.”

The Rebel Crumbles are also being sold in some local stores, including the Shoprite in ParkWest Town Center.

In 2020, Rebel Ventures hopes to open its own cafe.

Traffic Lights Not Working On Vine Street Causing Detours In Center City

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A traffic light outage is causing detours in Center City on Wednesday morning. The intersections of 8th and Vine Streets and 7th and Vine Streets have been blocked off.

 

The outage happened around 10 p.m. Tuesday, but traffic lights were still not functioning Wednesday morning.

Officials say repairs could take up to 24 hours.

 

8-Year-Old Girl Burned After Falling Into Fire Pit In Gloucester Township

GLOUCESTER TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBS) – An 8-year-old girl was burned after falling into a fire pit in Gloucester Township on Tuesday night. Police say it happened on Camelot Court, around 8 p.m.

Officials say the girl was treated on scene for burns to her back and hand.

She was then airlifted to St. Christopher’s Hospital in Philadelphia as a precaution, say police.

No word on the severity of the burns.

No further information has been released.

Radnor High School to open an hour later next year

RADNOR TWP., Pa.  (KYW Newsradio) — The Radnor Township School Board just approved a plan to push back the start time at Radnor High School. The changes will go into effect in the 2019-2020 school year, when the day will start at 8:30 a.m.

This new start time is 55 minutes later than the current start time of 7:35 a.m. The school board’s decision follows years of research that included the district surveying students, parents, community members and experts about sleep habits. 

The school district, citing several organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the CDC, and the American Medical Association, says the 8:30 a.m. start time would prevent sleep deprivation among students. They say that would lead to a drop in sleepiness in class, disciplinary issues, car crashes involving students, and even sports injuries. 

Related: Hit snooze? Radnor board to vote on later high school start time

The other schools in the district would face changes as well, but they aren’t as dramatic. The middle school would begin the day 10 minutes earlier, while the three elementary schools would start seven minutes later than they do now. The changes are only minor, officials say, so that the bus schedules would work for all the schools. Elementary school parents also expressed concern about starting too early.

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Radnor High School Students To Start Classes 55 Minutes Later

RADNOR, Pa. (CBS) – Students at Radnor High School will get to sleep in a little longer during the next academic year. The school district voted Tuesday to start the school day at 8:30 a.m.

The school day currently starts at 7:35 a.m.

Officials made the decision based on research showing that students benefit from having more time to sleep. They also say with more sleep, there is less obesity, depression, or anxiety and fewer accidents.

SUV Crashes Into Philadelphia Police Van On Chestnut Street Bridge, Police Say

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Police are investigating a crash involving a Philadelphia police van. It happened just before 2 a.m. Wednesday on the  Chestnut Street Bridge.

Officers say the SUV rear-ended the van, which wasn’t carrying anyone at the time.

Police are investigating the crash as a possible DUI.

No one was injured.

Health Officials Identify First Case Of Blood-Sucking ‘Kissing Bug’ In Delaware

KENT COUNTY, Del. (CBS) – It’s called the “kissing bug.” It’s a blood-sucking insect that attacks humans, often biting them in the face. Centers For Disease Control officials say they have documented the very first case in Delaware.

They say a young girl was watching TV in the bedroom of her Kent County home last summer when the bug bit her.

The bugs are often seen in Central and South America and can carry a parasite that causes “chagas disease.”

Fortunately, the child never got sick.

Solarize Philly launches 3rd year of leveraging group buying power to make solar energy affordable

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — If you live in Philadelphia and you’ve been thinking about getting solar panels on your house, this should be the year you do it. 

That’s the message from the Philadelphia Energy Authority as it launches the third year of its Solarize Philly program, with 2019 being the last year for the full tax credit on going solar. 

Leslie Gaines got estimates for solarizing her house of around $25,000, but when she called Solarize Philly, the price came down to $12,000 and she became one of the 360 homeowners who’ve taken advantage of the program’s group buying power to go solar.

“I’ve been wanting to do this for over ten years and doing it mostly for future generations, for my son. I’m a mom and I really feel like we all need to do something to safeguard their future,” she said. 

The more people who sign up for solar through Solarize Philly, the deeper the discounts. Customers are also eligible for a federal tax credit. 

But program manager Laura Rigell says that’s being phased downward after 2019. 

“This is your last chance to cut the cost of solar by 30 percent,” Rigell said. 

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That’s in addition to the savings of buying through the program, which Victor Young says is substantial.

“It was like maybe a $13,000 difference in what Solarize Philadelphia offered than what this company out in New Jersey offered me,” Young said. 

And now, Young has no more utility bills. 

Customers like Young are mostly motivated by wanting to reduce carbon emissions. The savings make it possible and the program has a financing plan so that at least 20 percent of customers are low- and moderate-income.

Rigell says the program’s main goal is to reduce carbon emissions but it has the side benefit of creating jobs.

“Rooftop solar generates the most jobs per dollar invested of any type of energy project,” Rigell explained.

She says the program created 52 jobs just last year.

For more information, click here. 

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Officials Investigating After Restaurant Workers Caught Pouring Unknown Liquid Into Manayunk Storm Drain

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Water Department is investigating after restaurant workers were caught on camera possibly breaking the law. A photo sent to Eyewitness News shows several people pouring an unknown liquid into a storm drain.

Credit: John Teague

This happened outside Hot Pot Gourmet on Main Street.

City inspectors say they take allegations of illegal dumping seriously and have talked to the restaurant manager.

‘He Betrayed Us, He Lied To Us’: Police Officer’s Widow, FOP Call For DA Krasner’s Resignation Over Abu-Jamal Appeal

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — On Tuesday, members of the Fraternal Order of Police rallied around Maureen Faulkner, the widow of fallen Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. She says District Attorney Larry Krasner betrayed her by dropping his opposition to an appeal hearing for Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Daniel Faulkner was murdered 38 years ago, but the emotion is still very raw. The victim’s widow told Eyewitness News the family thought they had closure but the rug was pulled from under their feet.

“I don’t have any kind words for the District Attorney, and he knows that,” FOP President John McNesby said.

The FOP of Philadelphia gathered to rally around victims of violent crime, especially Maureen Faulkner. Her husband was gunned down by Abu-Jamal during a traffic stop in 1981.

Daniel Faulkner Credit: CBS3

Abu-Jamal was convicted of the murder, but afterward, Maureen says she was told he would remain in prison for the rest of his life if she discontinued seeking the death penalty.

“I was told that if I put Mumia in for life without the possibility of parole that our family would be able to live a normal life, and it’s not happened,” Maureen said.

Philadelphia NAACP Takes Issue With DA’s Ruling Against Appeal For Convicted Cop Killer Mumia Abu-Jamal

Last week, Maureen learned DA Krasner dropped his opposition to an appeals hearing for Abu-Jamal, which grants him a new hearing.

“How dare he do that to me. How dare he do that to the Faulkner family. He betrayed us, he lied to us,” Maureen said.

Mumia Abu-Jamal File Photo

Now with the FOP backing Maureen, they’re hoping to get Krasner out.

“He’s a defense attorney and he doesn’t understand the other side, and I don’t think he’s able to come around to that,” Maureen said.

Krasner was at a town hall even Tuesday evening. He declined to comment on his decision. No date has been set for Abu-Jamal’s hearing as of yet.

Delivery Driver Danger: Valuables, Vehicles And Pizza Stolen From Delivery Drivers In Series Of Armed Robberies

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — An investigation is underway after a handful of pizza delivery drivers were violently robbed in Philadelphia. Police don’t believe the incidents are related, but they say all of the attackers were armed.

Delivering an extra-large pizza with pepperoni shouldn’t come with the threat of robbery. But that’s what happened to at least three different pizza delivery drivers at three different shops so far this month.

“Not only do they take their money, sometimes they take their cars, they take the food,” Philadelphia Police Captain John Walker said.

The latest incident took place Monday night on the 6800 block of Erdrick Street in Mayfair. Police say a Pizza City driver was robbed of his wallet, phone and food around 10:20 p.m., police say.

“He was approached by five guys,” Abe Omar, owner of Don Giovanni’s, said. “Three guys from the back, two from the front.”

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Someone robbed Omar’s driver at gunpoint on April 10, just blocks from the Don Giovanni pizza shop he owns off of Castor Avenue.

“Stuck him up and took the money,” Omar said.

The driver, a 17-year-old, quit shortly after the incident. Moheeb Awad is his twin, who still works deliveries.

Credit: CBS3

“He went home and he didn’t sleep,” Awad said.

A third robbery happened in Port Richmond on April 7, and though investigators say they’re not connected, they have released delivery safety tips for restaurants in the city.

“We sent fliers out to the businesses alerting them to things they can do today with technology,” Walker said.

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Like checking addresses on Google Earth, and using a caller ID system to track fake or masked numbers. All good pieces of advice, but Omar says staying vigilant is the key.

“You got to watch out. If you aren’t careful, it could happen,” Omar said.

Police have not made any arrests in any of the three cases. If you have any information, you are asked to call police.

Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police take stand against DA following controversial decision

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Police and victims of violent crimes protest against Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner for what they are calling a miscarriage of justice.

Krasner’s decision not to appeal a ruling gives way for Mumia Abu-Jamal to get his case before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. 

Jamal is currently on death row for the 1981 murder of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner.

“I want him behind bars,” said Faulkner’s widow, Maureen.  

Maureen stood along side dozens of other protesters and politicians Tuesday at the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Headquarters speaking out against Krasner and his decision.

“He lied to me. He deceived me, and I don’t think it was fair for him to do that,” she said. 

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Maureen believes Krasner does not care about her family.

FOP president John McNesby, who’s been a strong opponent of Krasner, helped organize the rally on Maureen’s behalf.

“We’re going to be shopping for a new district attorney in a couple of years. We have to somebody in that office that’s a chief law enforcement officer, not a chief public defender,” McNesby said. 

Many Abu-Jamal supporters say his case is plagued with judicial and police misconduct and he should be freed, not just receive a new trail.

Calls and messages to Krasner’s office were not immediately returned.

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Washington Township First Responders, High School Students Participate In Active School Shooter Drill

TURNERSVILLE, N.J. (CBS) — Washington Township police, fire and EMS converged on an elementary school Tuesday morning. The good news, nothing was wrong.

Cameras rolled as the school held an active shooter drill. About 20 first responders took part and 15 students helped make it look real.

First, there was quiet. Then, gunshots.

At Whitman Elementary School in Turnersville, the drill was set up to be as realistic as possible. The school was empty, save for first responders, school employees and actors — high school students playing victims.

EXCLUSIVE: Ex-Valley Forge Military Academy Cadet Speaks To CBS3 About Alleged Verbal, Physical Abuse At Hands Of Students

Some were injured, some were tagged as dead. Carol Ann Wesh watched as the scenario played out.

“I’m a nurse. I know that happens, but seeing the casualties on the floor, that people really do get hurt,” Wesh said.

This is the sixth drill held by Washington Township first responders this year. Senior Camryn Wade has been some before.

“One of the ones I was at, we hid in classrooms,” Wade said. “They told you different ways to make sure that you’re staying safer during a drill.”

Students say the drills help them imagine the unthinkable.

“I wouldn’t be as calm as I was today, but I feel like I would have more of an understanding as to what to do,” junior Allisa Conti said.

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“They would know, ‘I’ve done this before. I know how to act. I know what’s going to happen. Police are going to come in and do their thing. They’re going to get us all out safe,’” freshman Jared Garofalo said.

Washington Township Police say it also holds active shooter drills in hospitals and health care facilities. They say they try to do as many as possible in a calendar year, and they hope they never have to use the skills they learn.

Former Philadelphia Sheriff John Green signs surprise plea arrangement

In a surprise plea arrangement, less than a week before former Philadelphia Sheriff John Green's retrial in an alleged bribery and kickback scheme, he pleaded guilty.

Steve Tawa/KYW Newsradio

Former Philly Sheriff John Green signs surprise plea arrangement

April 23, 2019
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Less than a week before his corruption re-trial was to start, there was a hastily called proceeding for former Philadelphia Sheriff John Green, during which he pleaded guilty to “conspiracy to commit honest services fraud.”

The plea arrangement came together at the last moment, so much so that his defense lawyer, Peter Scuderi, was excused for appearing in court wearing a casual grey pullover sport jersey, chinos and boat shoes.

“The offer the government made was a fair resolution,” Scuderi said. 

During Green’s first trial in 2018, jurors acquitted him of three of the charges; they were deadlocked, and could not decide the other two.

“It was not a clear case for the government. And I think that was reflected in the verdict, the first time around,” Scuderi added. 

“He sold his office for an enormous stream of undisclosed and illegal benefits,” U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain said. 

At the same six-week long trial, his co-defendant, businessman James Davis, was found guilty of conspiracy and fraud. The jury also acquitted Davis on two counts and deadlocked on another count. 

Davis was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Diviniy went through the basic facts in the case, detailing how Green diverted public contracts to companies owned by Davis, who returned the favor with what he called a “complex bribery and kickback scheme.”

For a moment, when Judge Wendy Beetlestone asked Green “is that what happened?,” Scuderi responded “there are facts that support a guilty plea.” Judge Beetlestone shot back, “that’s not good enough. I need your client to say he did what the government described. I don’t think I can proceed otherwise.” 

Green then responded “Yes, your honor, I am guilty. I have betrayed the confidence that the citizens of Philadelphia had in me.”

Beetlestone will sentence Green Aug. 1. He faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

___

CORRECTION: In a previous version of this story, some quotations from defense lawyer Peter Scuderi were attributed to U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain.

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Susan G. Komen Philadelphia’s ‘More Than Pink’ Walk Coming To Art Museum On Mother’s Day

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — For decades, people have flocked to the Ben Franklin Parkway on Mother’s Day as thousands have celebrated their mothers, grandmothers, daughters and friends who have had, or are still battling, breast cancer. While there are changes to this year’s event, one thing remains the same: here in Philadelphia, Mother’s Day will always mean no one fights alone.

There’s a big change to an annual tradition — no more “Race for the Cure.” Get ready for something more intimate, more powerful — “More Than Pink.”

This year at the Art Museum will be the first-ever Susan G. Komen Philadelphia “More Than Pink” Walk.

“If you remember back in 1990-91, we didn’t even talk about breast cancer,” said Komen Philadelphia CEO Elaine Grobman.

Grobman started the first “Race for the Cure” in Philadelphia.

“This opportunity that we’ve had over so many years to have the funds that will provide all these services have really given opportunity to save lives,” said Grobman.

Services like mammograms, cancer treatment, education, and as demand for services continues to increase, so does the need for more fundraising.

“We had a few racers last year — 500 — not enough to really make a difference, but we had tens of thousands of people that came and did not register,” said Grobman. “If 50,000 people come, altogether 2,000 of those folks participate and only 100 fundraise, it doesn’t cover the cost of the race.”

And so a new tradition is born: the Komen Philadelphia “More Than Pink” Walk.

Here are some changes you can expect. The area will be fenced off from the Art Museum through Eakins Oval and around Logan Circle. You have to register to enter.

“We want everyone to register because without registration we can’t provide the services that are needed in the community,” said Grobman.

There will be four tents with information about Komen’s mission. A short but meaningful ceremony, including survivor stories, and of course, the most powerful part of the event — The Parade of Hope — where breast cancer survivors and “forever fighters” of metastatic breast cancer parade down the Art Museum steps.

The community will then walk together on a loop from Eakins Oval around Logan Circle.

“So we want people to come who are there for the mission, who want to fundraise, who want to help, who want to be part of the caring community, those are the folks we want to be there,” said Grobman. “Some people think that breast cancer is curable and unfortunately one out of 40 women still pass and until that number is zero, we have a lot of work to do, and the only way that we’re gonna do it is by raising the money.”

The Komen Philadelphia “More Than Pink” Walk is on Mother’s Day morning.

It is $35 to register and you can do that at cbsphilly.com/cure. If you use the promo code CBS3, you will get $5 off. Remember, you have to register to enter the gates of the walk.

Opening ceremonies begin at 7:30 a.m. and the walk begins at 8:15 a.m.

CBS3’s live coverage is from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Mother’s Day.

Campus community steps in to try to save beloved Penn Book Center from closing

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — As brick-and-mortar stores struggle to compete with online sales across the country, supporters from the University of Pennsylvania community have gathered to stop a local bookstore from closing its doors for good. 

Ashley Montague, co-owner of Penn Book Center at 34th and Sansom streets, said the trouble began a couple of years ago with textbooks.

“We would always check the Amazon prices to try to say, ‘OK well this is what they’re selling it for, we might lower our price to try to get close to their price,'” she said. “But when they’re selling the book for what we’re paying for it, obviously that is a price we cannot match.”

As a result, Montague said they stopped selling textbooks because they could no longer afford that business model. 

“We expanded our hours, we changed the layout of the store, increased the number of events that we had in the store to the point where now I think we have over 100 a year,” she added, but that wasn’t enough. 

The owners announced the store would close after more than 50 years in the business. 

But that’s when Penn professor Chi-ming Yang stepped in. She started a petition urging the university to help save the store. It now has more than 4,000 signatures and a response from the provost’s office. 

Additional rallies this week are a display of community support for a business that gives back to the community, which Yang said sets Penn Book Center apart from Amazon and chain retailers.

“It’s very rare to find a space where you can have interaction across different age groups and between faculty and students and community members,” she said, “both through the kind of books they sell there, but also the amazing author events they hold at the store.”

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US marshals arrest man for 2018 fatal stabbing in Chinatown

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A man wanted for the fatal stabbing of a Cherry Hill man Chinatown in October 2018 has been arrested Tuesday in Southwest Philadelphia by federal marshals and homicide detectives.

Police officers said they received information that 26-year-old Victor Yan was hiding in a home on Woodland Avenue near South 67th Street.

When marshals from the Fugitive Task Force and police went into the home around 6:15 a.m., Yan ran upstairs and climbed onto the roof.

After a brief standoff, he eventually gave up and was taken away to face homicide and related charges.

Police say Yan stabbed 28-year-old Brett Berdini at 10th and Race streets on Oct. 16, 2018 after he and his girlfriend left a nearby bar.

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EXCLUSIVE: Ex-Valley Forge Military Academy Cadet Speaks To CBS3 About Alleged Verbal, Physical Abuse At Hands Of Students

WAYNE, Pa. (CBS) — In an exclusive interview with CBS3, a former Valley Forge Military Academy cadet is speaking out for the first time about alleged verbal and physical abuse he suffered at the boarding school, including an incident where six cadets forced a lacrosse stick into his mouth and tried to sodomize him with it. The former student filed a lawsuit in a Philadelphia court, accusing the military academy of allowing “pervasive child abuse of youth” for decades “under the watch of numerous administrators.”

He is identified in the lawsuit as John Doe to protect his privacy. He told CBS3’s Joe Holden that surviving at the school was about coping with daily hazing, bullying, physical and even sexual abuse. He says he also feared for his life.

“It was just very hard to see that future because of all the chaos that was going on,” he said.

The former student listed several alleged incidents in 2016 and 2017, including being assaulted by another student in the classroom with the teacher in the room; having his property stolen from his dorm by other cadets; having his head slammed into a wall; cadets stealing his towel while he was in the communal bathroom and urinating on it; and cadets throwing shaving cream cans at him while in the shower.

The lawsuit also lists an alleged incident where the student was locked in a dorm room by six cadets and repeatedly beaten with a lacrosse stick. At one point, the cadets tried to force the stick into his mouth and then tried to penetrate him with it through his clothes in a ritual known as “tooth-pasting.”

“This heinous ritual that they have at Valley Forge called tooth-pasting, things you wouldn’t expect to see anywhere, but especially at an internationally renowned military boarding school,” said attorney Stewart Ryan, of Laffey, Bucci & Kent, LLP.

During this incident, the victim was waterboarded and left hanging from a door.

“Sometimes I get a little bit of tunnel vision, and it’s more of one thought leads to another about what happened, and then I get the flashbacks of every single thing that has happened,” the victim told CBS3.

In the suit, lawyers allege the school avoided calling the police and chose instead to handle the matter internally, writing they’re responsible for the “failure to protect plaintiff and other children from severe and pervasive abuse that was rampant for years, perpetrated by both employees and students.”

“It got to a point where I was wondering if I could ever step out into society again, because, you know, I was constantly thinking about what happened to me,” John Doe said.

The military academy said in a statement that they are “surprised” by the lawsuit, but that the incident was “handled appropriately.”

“This incident was investigated, reported and handled appropriately in accordance with appropriate law and in cooperation with local police, including the discipline of involved cadets up to and including dismissal. Back in 2017, we believed the parents involved were satisfied with our handling of the situation; we’re surprised by this potential lawsuit, but stand behind our process and conclusions,” the school said.

The former student is seeking damages in excess of $50,000.