Alleged Upper Darby bullies denied release, judge boots media from court

The seven Upper Darby boys, ages 13 to 17, arrested Monday for a videotaped bullying incident that made national headlines, will remain incarcerated at the Delaware County Juvenile Detention Center while awaiting their next hearing on Feb. 10, a judge ruled today.

Judge Mary Alice Brennan, who took the unusual step of denying the press and others access to an open court proceeding, ordered that the teens undergo a psychological evaluation and risk assessment, according to Public Defender David DiPasqua. The Delaware County District Attorney's Office objected to having today's hearing closed, saying that it is an open proceeding under state law.

The seven teens, who attend the Opportunity Center behind Upper Darby High School, are charged with assault, kidnapping and related offenses for the Jan. 11 bullying of 13-year-old Nadin Khoury. He was dragged on the ground and hanged in a tree and by a 7-foot-tall spiked fence post. It was videotaped on a cell phone.

Brennan, a former district judge in Upper Darby, has previously served as special counsel for the Upper Darby School District.

Today's hearing was conducted by videoconference because the teens are at the detention center in Lima. Before the news media was removed from the courtroom, a 14-year-old defendant said into the camera: "If you see my mother, can you tell her I love her?"

The boy's attorney, Geoffrey Seay, said outside the courtroom that he hopes his client will be released to his mother and grandmother after next week's hearing. He had asked that he be released today.

"I don't know that they can make out all those charges," Seay said, adding: "At this point, I've seen as much video as everybody else and all I see is blurs, so I can't say what, if anything, my client may have done."

"Certainly, it's repulsive to all of us," Seay said of the video.