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 Posted September 20, 2000 

Counselor charged in death of student at wilderness school

The Associated Press
9/20/00 3:45 PM

LAKEVIEW, Ore. (AP) - A counselor at a wilderness school for troubled youth has been charged with criminally negligent homicide in the death of a student, authorities said Wednesday. 

Charles Matthew Sharp, 22, of Bend, an employee of the Obsidian Services Wilderness Therapy School based in Bend, was arrested by Lake County sheriff's deputies following the Monday night death and held in the Lake County Jail. 

The name of the student was not immediately released. He was declared dead at Bend hospital after being flown by helicopter from a site in northern Lake County. 

The school said the boy stopped breathing "for undetermined reasons" at about 7 p.m. Monday, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation was performed immediately by trained staff. 

The school said in a prepared statement that all safety procedures were followed by Sharp, and they were confident he would be cleared of any charges. 

The case remains under investigation, and will be presented to a grand jury in October, said Lake County District Attorney David Schutt. 

Meanwhile, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has revoked Obsidian Trails' permit for operating on its Lakeview District. It was one of four wilderness schools for troubled youth operating in the area. 

"They are to remove their students and equipment from the area," said BLM spokeswoman Lisa Swinney. 

"We also have placed a moratorium on any new groups operating in the Lakeview District and have put a ceiling or cap upon currently permitted groups from increasing beyond their permitted numbers," Swinney said.

BLM had insisted Obsidian Trails improve their security measures after two students ran away from camp last December and held a rancher and his wife at knifepoint before stealing their car. 

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