Teens Accused of Harassing Worshipers at Mosque Offered Plea Deals
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The five teens accused of harassing worshipers at a Waterport mosque were in court Monday night. Orleans County District Attorney Joseph Cardone says they were all offered plea deals.
Mark Vendetti and Tim Weader, both 17, and 18-year old Dylan Phillips, Jeff Donahue and Anthony Ogden all face charges for harassment and disruption of religious services. Vendetti is also charged with criminal possession of a weapon.
All are accused of harassing worshipers outside a Watertport mosque in August. On Monday, the teens met in closed quarters with their lawyers before a judge. Because they qualify as youth offenders, most of what happened during the proceedings is sealed.
Cardone says they were offered plea deals and have until next month to accept. He couldn't go into details about the offers. Cardone says because the charges are misdemeanors, punishment can include anything from jail time to probation. He says when all this is done hopefully a lesson will be learned.
"Religious intolerance won’t be tolerated. Whether these young men and the conduct, whether they fully appreciated the repercussions of their actions, that's up to the courts to decide. Obviously, we want to take a firm position on what has occurred here," Cardone.
Lawyers for the teens did not comment. The next court date is expected to be in the first week of April.