Whitestone resident Gianfranco Donati, 64, was charged with 18 counts ranging from assault, endangering the welfare of a child, unlawful imprisonment, petty larceny, criminal possession of stolen property and harassment, according to the criminal complaint.Donati, a resident of Whitestone for 40 years, claimed the four children were outside his Donati Real Estate office at 14-51 150th St., where "they were bouncing a ball against the glass of the office (windows) and bouncing it against the awning." He added, "I said to move and they gave me the finger."The boys then entered the neighboring Subway restaurant and Donati followed to demand that they give him their fathers' phone numbers or he would call the police, he said in a telephone interview.The boys refused and began to leave, so Donati took a backpack belonging to one of the boys off the table so he could not go, according to the complaint."I wanted him to stay until the police came," Donati said.After he took the backpack, Donati said he returned to his office and the boys followed him because they wanted the backpack returned. He said he was attacked shortly afterwards. The complaint said the boys engaged in an argument with Donati and were then kicked, punched and choked by him. Three of the boys were hit in the face and another was choked, according to the criminal complaint.Donati then locked the door to his establishment and refused to let the boys leave, the complaint said.Donati said he told the boys to wait outside once they entered his business to retrieve their book bag, but the boys began kicking furniture and attacking him, he claimed."I was protecting myself and defending myself," Donati said. "I was trying to hold their hands and stop them. I did not hit anyone, they hit me. I was hit, scratched, cut up, cursed, and I wound up in jail."The mother of one of the boys declined comment on the incident as did Subway employees.Donati was released in his own custody after his arraignment last Thursday by Queens County Criminal Judge Fernando Camacho, "who issued a temporary order of protection requiring that the defendant remain away from the complainants," a law enforcement source said.A return court date was set for June 28.Reach reporter Scott Sieber by e-mail at news@times
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