EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

June 4, 2014

Chism under heavy guard after assault on DYS worker

Accused murderer Philip Chism assaulted a female staff member at the Department of Youth Services facility in Boston where he is being held without bail, Essex County Sheriff Frank Cousins said.

The assault occurred Monday and Chism may face additional criminal charges as a result, Cousins said.

Chism, 15, is charged with robbing, raping and killing Colleen Ritzer, 24, of Andover, at Danvers High School on the afternoon of Oct. 22, 2013, then leaving her body in a wooded area next to the school. Chism is being tried as an adult.

The nature of the assault and the extent of the worker’s injuries were unclear yesterday. Cousins knew the woman worked for DYS, but did not know in what capacity. Her identity was not released.

“She is fairly new to the system ... She was very, very shaken up,” Cousins said.

After the incident, Chism was taken to Boston Medical Center for a mental evaluation. He remains under heavy guard by Essex County Correctional officers, Cousins said.

“We are on top of him, watching him,” Cousins said.

The incident will be investigated by state troopers assigned to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office, Cousins said.

At Cousins’ request, Chism is being held at the Department of Youth Services Metropolitan Detention Center in Dorchester due to his age. Cousins said the sheriff’s department is still responsible for overseeing Chism’s custody and he was immediately notified after the incident occurred on Monday.

Cousins said he sent three corrections officers to Boston to supervise Chism.

It was unclear yesterday if Chism will be housed at a different facility as a result of the incident.

A spokesman for the agency that runs the DYS facility where Chism is being held would not say whether Chism was involved or confirm any details on the attack.

“The Department of Youth Services is working closely with law enforcement to investigate an assault that took place on a member of the staff at our Dorchester facility,” said Alec Loftus, spokesman for the Executive Officer of Health and Human Services.

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