Pa. health center staffers accused of encouraging children to fight

Police say two workers are accused of not stopping a fight between minors at a facility that treats minors and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The alleged incident happened at the Devereux Kanner Center in West Whiteland Township in July.

According to police, Anthony Merrick, 25, of Coatesville, and Rayne Portela, 24, of Glenside, were charged with Failure to Report or Refer, Endangering Welfare of Children, Simple Assault and Harassment.

The investigation began when a parent of a minor told an investigator that their child had been involved in a "boxing" incident at the facility.

Authorities say video surveillance was obtained of the incident. It is alleged that Merrick and Portela observed two clients, ages 12 and 13, in a physical confrontation. According to investigators, the two clients were observed on surveillance video and they appeared to be fighting. The surveillance video showed one client bleeding as a result of the altercation. Merrick and Portella were observed on the surveillance video as they watched the two striking each other and neither appeared to take any action to separate them, according to authorities.

It is alleged that Merrick encouraged the client's behavior and filmed the incident on a cell phone. Merrick allegedly showed Portella the video on the cell phone and shared the video with her through Snapchat.

Investigators say no one filed a report as required by their mandated reporter position at the facility.