Teen arson case now under seal

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SANDPOINT — An arson case pending against a Sandpoint teen is being moved behind closed doors.

A magistrate court judge ruled that the juvenile criminal case should be open for public review, but it’s now filed under seal. It’s not clear what caused the file to become sealed.

Austin Frank-Allen is charged with second-degree arson in connection with an April 15 structure fire that razed an outbuilding at Great Northern Park.

The $18,000 outbuilding and an estimated $5,480 in equipment when flames overran the structure, which also housed portable toilets for park visitors. Hand sanitizer and toilet paper were allegedly used to spark the fire, according to an arrest report.

Smith, 13, became a suspect after he was reportedly overheard bragging that he was the culprit in the arson, court records indicate. Smith denied the allegations when he was questioned by Sandpoint Police, but later admitted involvement, an arrest report said.

Three other teens, a boy and two girls, were also implicated in the fire, although a judge ruled that their criminal cases would not open to public review. The parents of the teens involved could be made to pay restitution in the case, according to court documents.

The sealing of the files means the outcomes of the cases will only be known to the court, the teens and their legal counsels.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at kkinnaird@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.

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