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Cornwell: No Basis For Criminal Charges In Alleged East Middle School Strip Search

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BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -

Broome County District Attorney Steve Cornwell has found no basis for criminal charges against Binghamton East Middle School faculty accused of conducting an illegal strip search against four seventh graders in January. 

The incident is now the subject of the a federal lawsuit filed last week by the NAACP.

In his May 8, 2019 letter to Superintendent Tonia Thompson, Cornwell states he reviewed investigations conducted by the Binghamton Police Department and New York State Police Department and agreed with their findings. Neither agencies recommended criminal charges over the January 15, 2019 incident.

You can read the letter below.

The school district has maintained the four students were never strip searched,  saying East Middle School Nurse Mary Ellen Eggleston was conducting a medical evaluation and was following protocol.

When conducting medical evaluation, it may require the removal of bulky outside clothing to expose an arm so that vitals like blood pressure and pulse can be assessed. This is not the same as a strip search.
-- from January 24th Binghamton School District Statement.

The Binghamton school district media relations office released the following statement shortly after Cornwell released his letter.

The Binghamton City School District appreciates the time and effort the Broome County District Attorney's Office and members of law enforcement dedicated to reviewing the January 15th, 2019 incident at East Middle School. The district is currently awaiting the results of the third-party investigation conducted by Ferrara Fiorenza PC, and will promptly share those findings with the public. We thank our students, families, staff and community for their patience and support. -- May 9, 2019 Binghamton School District Statement. 

Parents and their supporters including community group PLOT  stand by the students and said EMS administrators authorized the search without parental consent or notification after the girls appeared "hyper" and "giddy" after lunch.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has since launched an investigation into their allegations.