District Attorney: No Charges In Binghamton School “Strip Search”

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VESTAL, NY (WSKG) – Broome County District Attorney Steven Cornwell will charge no one in an alleged strip search of students at a Binghamton school earlier this year.

Photo by Monica Sandrecski, WSKG News

In a letter to the Binghamton City School District, Cornwell noted that neither the Binghamton nor New York state police have filed charges thus far. “I have reviewed their
investigation, and agree, there is no basis for any criminal charges to be filed against any
employee of the Binghamton City School District,” Cornwell said.

In January, four middle school girls, two black and two Latina, claimed staff at East Middle School strip searched them. The girls have said they were told to take off clothes because they were acting “giddy” and suspected of possessing drugs.

The school district claims it wasn’t a strip search, but rather a medical assessment. According to district policy, strip searches are almost never justified.

In the days following the alleged incident, community members were furious. They packed a school board meeting and held a rally to support the girls. Their parents have sought legal action including discipline for staff, an apology and a survey of the racial climate in the district.

“Generally, when an investigation is conducted, and no criminal charges are filed,
the case becomes sealed, and no public comment can be made by law enforcement or
prosecutors,” said Cornwell. “However, given the widespread media coverage of this case, we feel it appropriate to notify the school district, and will make this letter available to the public.”

Cornwell ended his letter by noting his investigation was solely into criminal charges.