June 1, 2012

To the Editor:

We mourn the death of Anthony Collao and are broken hearted for his family who have suffered one of the worst losses imaginable (“Failed Juveline Intervention Led to Anti-Gay Murder Charge,” by Duncan Osborne, May 23-Jun. 5).

However the kind of misreporting found in Duncan Osborne’s article “Failed Juvenile Intervention Led to Anti-Cay Murder Charge” will do little to help the community cope with this tragic event. Nor will it help our policy leaders to make good decisions. The article contained the following serious errors about our work with Luis Tabales, who is among the accused.

Mr. Osborne quoted Judge Hunt’s statement that the Child Center of NY delivered “nebulous” therapy to Luis Tabales. This is completely untrue. Multi-Systemic Therapy sites, like the Child Center’s, are intensively supervised by the developer to insure fidelity to the model that three decades of rigorous research and 26 published studies have indicated is an effective treatment for preventing criminal activity.

Mr. Osborne reported that, “Eventually fearing for her son’s safety, Tabales’ mother wanted Probation to issue a violation petition to Hunt so he would be detained. CCNY talked her out of it.” This is an incorrect statement. The family, the Child Center, and the Department of Probation met to discuss what was going on. Probation made the decision to hold off on issuing a violation of parole.

The Child Center did not “under-report” Luis’ violations. In fact, as required, we fully described in monthly written reports to the Department of Probation that Mr. Tabales was using drugs, not attending meetings, that he had a violation for jumping a turnstile, and more.

The Child Center of NY has devoted nearly 60 years to helping the city’s at-risk children and youth succeed in life. But we cannot accomplish our mission alone. Multi-Systemic Therapy relies on complete engagement of the youth and his family. Unfortunately, neither Mr. Tabales nor his mother were willing to commit.

Sandra Hagan, MSW

Executive director

The Child Center of NY

Woodside, Queens



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