Police arrest teen they say helped hide runaways

A teenager from Malone who allegedly helped to hide two runaway Saranac Lake girls is now facing charges from two different police agencies.

Malone village police arrested the 17-year-old male Thursday and charged him with three counts of sexual misconduct and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child, both of which are misdemeanors. Village police Chief Christopher Premo said the boy had sexual intercourse with another person under the age of 17 on three occasions during the week of March 1.

Premo said state police have also charged the 17-year-old with obstructing governmental administration for misleading investigators about the location of the girls.

“He actually knew where they were,” Premo said. “They were at a friend’s house. I know they initially interviewed him, saw him again, questioned him, and he finally gave them up.”

The girls, aged 15 and 14, ran away from their Saranac Lake homes on the night of Friday, March 1. They were missing for six days, although family members said they believed the girls were in Malone, where one of the girl’s boyfriend lives and where the other is originally from. Police located the girls in a house on Pearl Street Thursday afternoon. They’ve since been returned to their families.

Although the girls have been named in past news reports, now that criminal charges are involved, the Enterprise is not naming the suspect or the girls since the newspaper normally does not name underage people charged with crimes or alleged victims of sex crimes.

The 17-year-old was issued an appearance ticket for the obstruction charge. He was arraigned Thursday on the endangering and sexual misconduct charges and remanded to the Franklin County Jail in Malone in lieu of $3,000 cash bail or $6,000 bond. He was still in jail as of Monday afternoon.