Chester County student among 4 injured in acid attack in France

PARIS - Four American college students - including a young woman from Chester County - were attacked with acid Sunday at a train station in France, but authorities did not think extremist views motivated the 41-year-old woman who was arrested as the alleged assailant, the local prosecutor's office and the students' school said.

Boston College, a private Jesuit university in Massachusetts, said in a statement Sunday that the four students were treated at a hospital for burns after they were sprayed in the face with acid in Marseille. The statement said the four all were juniors in their 20s studying abroad, three at the college's Paris program.

The students were treated for burns and shock at a hospital in Marseille and released. They were identified as Courtney Siverling, Charlotte Kaufman, and Michelle Krug, enrolled in the college's Paris program; and Kesley Kosten, a student at the Copenhagen Business School in Denmark.

Siverling is from Chester Springs. Her LinkedIn page says she was an intern this summer with the West Chester-based Friends Association for Care and Protection of Children. The West Chester Daily Local reported in 2011 that Siverling was a member of the girls' swim team at Downingtown East High. The school's principal could not be reached for comment Sunday night, and no one answered the phone at the Siverling residence.

"It appears that the students are fine, considering the circumstances, though they may require additional treatment for burns," said Nick Gozik, who directs Boston College's Office of International Programs. "We have been in contact with the students and their parents and remain in touch with French officials and the U.S. Embassy regarding the incident."

A spokeswoman for the Marseille prosecutor's office told the Associated Press that the suspect, described as "disturbed," did not make any extremist threats or declarations during the late-morning attack at the city's Saint Charles train station. She said there were no obvious indications that the woman's actions were terror-related.

A person with knowledge of the investigation said the suspect had a history of mental-health problems. The regional newspaper La Provence said the assailant remained at the site of the attack without trying to flee.

France has seen scattered attacks by unstable individuals as well as extremist violence in recent years, including in Marseille.

In April, police said they thwarted an imminent "terror attack" and arrested two suspected radicals in Marseille just days before the first round of France's presidential election.

Staff writer Linda Loyd contributed to this article.