Student in ‘bomb scare’ pleads to lesser charge

• Teen apologizes, says he had no idea serious of game

By Naomi Klouda
Homer Tribune
A teen whose role playing game at Homer High resulted in a bomb scare accepted a plea agreement last week that charges him with misdemeanor disorderly conduct.
Zachary Fraley, 18, was originally charged with first-degree terroristic threatening. Under the lesser charge, he will serve 80 hours of community service by April 1, 2014, and a year of probation. He also was ordered by Judge Margaret Murphy to write a letter of apology to Homer High School.
The case involved a coffee can described as six inches high with dryboard  erasers taped on it that was found near a stairwell. Former Principal Allan Gee called for an evacuation of the school after it was found, around 9 a.m. on May 16. Fraley later said he was playing a role-playing game prior to the school day’s start with a friend and they had played these kinds of games for two years at the school. This one involved a fake bomb.
The Homer Police Department grew involved after receiving a report from an Alaska State Trooper visiting the school. He said that an event requiring law enforcement was occurring at the Homer High School. Principal Allan Gee also called a Homer Police investigator, said the school’s new Principal Doug Waclawski. Homer Police officers responded to the school and found that it was being evacuated by school staff.
Police investigation revealed that the object appeared to be an explosive device. School officials moved the object and examined it prior to the arrival of police officers. The school was searched and no other devices were found. Students were allowed to re-enter the school and classes resumed.
School staff identified Fraley and a 16-year-old male as being responsible for making the device and placing it in the stairwell. Both stated they had done so as a “prank,” according to a police news release at the time.
The 16-year-old was released to his parents, with his case handled by Kenai’s Office of Juvenile Justice. Fraley was held at the Homer jail.  He reportedly described to Sgt. Lary Kuhns the parts he used to make the fake bomb. According to the complaint, Kuhns saw that the device was not a viable explosive device, but had the appearance of an explosive device that would cause “one to pause before examination.”
In a letter to the community this week, Fraley apologized for his mistake.
The Homer High 2013 graduate is known as a good student who did not encounter other  problems with the administration during his high school years, Waclawski said. Judge Murphy wanted the letter of apology to be written in order to show he realized the gravity of the situation in light of school tragedies such as Columbine in Colorado and the deaths at a school in New Town, Conn.
Fraley said he had no such intentions. It was simply a game with props that he played with other students to pass the time between classes.
“I am deeply sorry about the incident that I inadvertently caused on May 16,   2013 at Homer High School,” he wrote. “I never meant to cause alarm or to frighten anyone. I had absolutely no idea that my actions of playing a ‘role player’ type game with a friend prior to school starting could turn out as it did.” The full letter is printed on page 6.
Fraley will be able to get his name cleared of the charges once he successfully completes probation. He said he could not talk about the case at this point, but would like to when his period of probation is up.
Principal Waclawski said he feels the plea deal is a reasonable resolution of the case. “There needed to be a punishment for it. It definitely didn’t rise to the level of terroristic threatening,” Waclawski said. “(Zachary) he’s a fine young man and I think he will be able to pull things together and move on. He was a good student.”
Waclawski said it was obvious that the device wasn’t real. “But you have to take every threat seriously. These two young men weren’t thinking about what kind of age we live in. It happened less than a week from graduation. The natural consequences of the case was that Zachery wasn’t allowed back in school. He didn’t get to walk at graduation. That was the consequence from the court. It’s a really unfortunate event – if a kid isn’t thinking through their actions. And it blew up larger than anyone thought it would be.”

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Posted by on Sep 3rd, 2013 and filed under Headline News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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