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Knife flashed at church's dance

Parents see need for more recreation outlets

March 31, 2010
STURBRIDGE — The arrest of a 17-year-old Sturbridge resident after a junior high dance on Friday has some parents taking a critical look at the social outlets for children in town.

Wesley Holland, an Arnold Road resident and student at Tantasqua Regional High School, was arrested late Friday after allegedly pulling out a knife and threatening a chaperone outside a dance at the Sturbridge Federated Church.

"We know who they are," said Rev. Bob Jackson. "If they ever even came near the church we'd have them removed immediately,"

Detective Mark Saloio said the incident stemmed from an encounter earlier in the evening, when 18-year-old Ryan Olszta, a chaperone at the dance, asked two girls to leave the event because they exceeded the age limit. Both girls are 15 years old.

"While conducting his duties, it was brought to his attention there were two females who were too old to be at the event," Saloio said of the Olszta. "There's nothing indicating he was anything other than polite to them."

Responding Police Officer Joseph Lombardi said, "As the event came to an end — 10 p.m. — [the two females] had not left the premises, as they had no ride," in his written report of the incident.

Some time between 10:30 and 11 p.m. Holland arrived to pick the girls up, while Olszta was outside distributing flyers to parents retrieving their children.

Upon his arrival, Holland was overheard asking one of the girls, "Which one is it? I'll (expletive) beat the (expletive) out of him," referring to Olszta. To which the female responded, "He's right on the other side of the car."

See Thursday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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