Five teenagers have finally been arrested and charged with crimes after they cruelly tricked an autistic teen into dumping urine, tobacco and spit on himself after falsely telling him it was part of the viral “Ice Bucket Challenge.”
The heinous act was video recorded and went viral. When celebrities Drew Carey, Donnie Wahlberg and Jenny McCarthy caught wind of what happened they each pledged $10,000 to anyone who could provide information that would lead to the identification and arrest of the culprits.
The police stated last month that they were confident they had the identities of those responsible. Although it has taken some time, charges have been filed and this delay probably reflects a careful and thorough investigation to make sure they got it right.
Prosecutors in Bay Village, Ohio have stated that all the perpetrators are between the ages of 14 and 16. Three are reportedly charged with delinquency, assault and disorderly conduct and the other two face disorderly conduct charges – all misdemeanors.
Prosecutor Duane Deskins said, “The victim and the five charged juveniles were and are friends and classmates. They regularly associate with one another and, at times, engage in distasteful and sophomoric pranks. However, this incident is clearly different. It crossed a moral and legal line, and even the five alleged perpetrators understand that and have expressed regret.”
A lawyer for the autistic teen’s family said that they are satisfied with the charges levied. There are no felonies that fit the facts of this case but advocates for people with disabilities are pushing for a change in the laws to have an act such as this labeled a hate crime.
An attorney for one of those charged also felt the case was handled fairly. If found guilty, the teens could face a wide range of penalties, including community service, home detention, probation or time in the county’s detention center.
Bay Village Police Chief Mark Spaetzel said he believes that those charged have all learned an important lesson, “but you don’t want to ruin anybody’s life over this.”
Many are now calling for harsher sentences and for the names of those charged to be released publicly. Do you think the charges are too lenient and that the identities should be revealed even though they’re juveniles?