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Former Outback youth director applies for accelerated rehab

Updated 12:10 pm, Thursday, April 10, 2014
  • Andrew Barer, the Outback Teen Center's former youth program director, has applied for accelerated rehabilitation He was arrested Feb. 27 on a breach of peach charge. Photo: Contributed Photo, Nelson Oliveira / New Canaan News
    Andrew Barer, the Outback Teen Center's former youth program director, has applied for accelerated rehabilitation He was arrested Feb. 27 on a breach of peach charge. Photo: Contributed Photo, Nelson Oliveira

 

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By Nelson Oliveira

Andrew Barer, the former Outback Teen Center youth program director who police said used vulgar and inappropriate language in the cafeteria at Saxe Middle School Jan. 15, applied for accelerated rehabilitation in Norwalk Superior Court Thursday.

Barer, 52, of 8 Hayes St., Easton, was arrested Feb. 27 on a charge of second-degree breach of peace.

New Canaan police said Barer told a group of eight to 10 boys at the school cafeteria that if they didn't start attending the Outback, he would "kick their a----" and "cut off their d----."

Barer denied making such comments and said he never would threaten a child, according to the arrest warrant signed by New Canaan Police Sgt. Carol Ogrinc. He pleaded not guilty to the charge March 12.

Accelerated rehabilitation is a probationary program that allows first-time offenders to wipe away charges against them, as long as they do not get into other legal issues during the program.

The court will consider Barer's eligibility for the program May 23. If the court approves his application, Barer will be placed on probation for up to two years. If the conditions of the probation are completed, the charge could be dismissed.

Barer had been hired by the Outback in November as a part-time youth program director. He was terminated Jan. 17 -- one day after police started the investigation.

Barer is also the founder and director of the life-coaching organization Wingspan Academy, where he gives young men professional advice on their personal issues. He is a certified master, life and youth and family coach.

The warrant states that Barer also lifted a boy off the ground and took the contact information for several of them during the incident. Ogrinc also believes that he attempted to contact at least two of the boys on their cellphones one day after the incident, according to the document.

During the investigation, the mother of one of the boys told Ogrinc that someone called her son's cellphone eight times Jan. 16, but she said no one spoke and she just heard "mumbling," the warrant states.

Barer said he never tried to call any of the students, according to the warrant.

Barer entered the school at about 11 a.m. that day with Sangeeta Appel, president of the Outback's board of directors, according to the warrant. Appel walked Barer throughout the school before leaving him to speak with the students during lunchtime in the cafeteria, where he was for about 90 minutes, the warrant states. Barer said Appel asked him to go to the school with her to meet a few people and share ideas with students, according to the document.

While at the cafeteria, a teacher heard Barer make inappropriate statements to a table of fifth-grade boys and saw him take "a boy off the ground by lifting him under the armpits," Saxe Principal Greg Macedo told police, according to the warrant. Macedo escorted Barer off the school grounds and contacted the parents of all the children involved, the warrant states.

Macedo told police the next day that a parent emailed Steven Clapp, a fifth-grade administrator, on the day of the incident to report that his or her child came home and claimed that an Outback representative had spoken of boys' private parts and used vulgar language while speaking about the teen center during lunchtime, Ogrinc wrote.

Under state law, "a person is guilty of breach of the peace when, with intent to cause inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, such person in a public place, uses abusive or obscene language or makes an obscene gesture."

noliveira@bcnnew.com, 203-330-6582, @olivnelson