11 teens charged after reported riot at behavioral health facility in Liberty

Local News

This isn't the first time in recent months something similar has happened at the hospital

LIBERTY, Ohio (WKBN) – Nearly a dozen girls ages 11 to 17 are facing charges after Liberty police say they were involved in a riot at a behavioral health facility Sunday night.

Investigators say they’re working with the hospital to try to prevent it from happening again.

More than a dozen officers from multiple agencies rushed to Belmont Pines Hospital after staff called 911 to report a riot in the girls’ residential unit.

Dispatcher: “Any idea how many are on the unit?”
Caller: “Oh, there’s quite a few young ladies over there having an issue, probably at least 15 of them.”

“There was damage to the inside of the building. I guess they picked up or tried to take apart a heater to use that as a weapon. There were several other things that they damaged — the walls, the tables, the chairs, things like that,” said Liberty Police Chief Toby Meloro.

Investigators say in total, 11 girls were taken to the Trumbull County Juvenile Detention Center on charges stemming from the riot.

“These are steps that we have to take to ensure that they see that we’re not going to put up with this kind of behavior,” Chief Meloro said.

In a statement, the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer Lisa Cocca said their staff handled the situation “professionally and as trained.” She thanked Liberty police for their help and said they will be reviewing what happened to see if any changes are needed.

But this isn’t the first time in recent months something similar has happened. Just four months ago, eight girls were charged after police say they started a riot in an attempt to escape.

“We need to put a stop to this,” Chief Meloro said.

Chief Meloro said they’ll be meeting with Belmont Pines staff to try to prevent any future riots at the facility.

“We want to stop this from happening again to protect not only the employees and the residents there but our residents in the township,” he said.

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