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Alleged Tormentor of Autistic Boy Pleads Guilty in Juvenile Court

Two teenage girls were charged with physically abusing an autistic classmate. Both entered pleas in juvenile court and will serve several years in detention, rather than decades.

Maryland girls who goaded an autistic classmate into a sex act and forced him to walk on ice that gave way will be sent to a juvenile detention facility. File|Patch
Maryland girls who goaded an autistic classmate into a sex act and forced him to walk on ice that gave way will be sent to a juvenile detention facility. File|Patch

Two teenage Maryland girls who forced an autistic classmate to engage in a sex act with the family pet and walk on an ice-covered pond have both been tried as juveniles for their crimes, avoiding lengthy prison sentences.

The girls, who shot cell phone videos of their bullying of a 16-year-old boy, will serve several years in juvenile detention. Lauren A. Bush, 17, the older of the pair charged in the assault pleaded guilty Thursday in St. Mary’s County juvenile court to two misdemeanor charges, reports The Washington Post.

The high school junior was initially charged as an adult with first-degree assault, false imprisonment and child-pornography solicitation. She had faced up to 80 years in prison if convicted in adult court. At next week’s sentencing she faces a maximum four-year sentence in a secure juvenile detention facility.

More: Protest Over Light Sentence for Young Woman in Bizarre Murder Case

Their victim and classmate from Chopticon High School told a reporter last month that he didn’t want to see the girls prosecuted for committing and filming the bullying.

Bush and a 15-year-old girl were arrested in March by the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Department. Sheriff Tim Cameron told The New York Daily News the “heinous” allegations in this case are some of the worst he has ever seen.

The 15-year-old assailant had asked a judge for leniency, but was instead sentenced in April to a maximum of six years in a Maryland juvenile detention facility, reports The Washington Post. Judge Michael Stamm rejected the girl’s request to serve her punishment in a community-based treatment program, saying her actions were “horrific.” The girl posed a danger to the community, he said.

More: Autistic Maryland Boy Wants Charges Dropped Against 'Friends' Who Tormented Him

Between December and March, the suspects recorded themselves assaulting their victim by pointing a knife to his throat, making him walk across a frozen pond and kicking him in the groin, the sheriff said.

Yet the victim, identified only as Michael in an interview with The Washington Post, told the newspaper he considers the girls his friends and is unhappy that his parents pursued criminal charges.

The high-functioning sophomore described the knife incident as “a game gone wrong. It was a sick game, kind of creepy. But they didn’t have a serious intention about killing me,” he told the Post.

Cameron told the newspaper perhaps the most appalling charge was a sexual act they allegedly coerced the victim into performing.

“The victim was forced to masturbate and then copulate with a family pet,” he said. “It’s beyond comprehension.”

Michael said he would like the charges dropped against the girls he still calls friends.

“It really makes me upset that my parents want to see them in jail,” Michael told the Post. “Because I really like them.”

“My son is a staunch defender of his tormentors; it’s embarrassing,” his father told the Post. “He may be more disabled than I convinced myself that he was and maybe more lost than I realized. That’s something I am going to have to deal with on a later day.”

The suspects were arrested after one girl's mother found the video on her daughter’s phone and alerted the school resource officer at the high school they both attended in Mechanicsville.

Our related story:

Autistic Maryland Boy Wants Charges Dropped Against 'Friends' Who Tormented Him
George Murphy June 05, 2014 at 09:46 AM
With Maryland being one of the nation's most liberal states, I would never have thought that the punishment could be as severe as it is. I was thinking that if this had happened in New Jersey - exactly as it did here - the punishment would never have reached these proportions.
George Murphy June 05, 2014 at 09:52 AM
I might also add that the boy, who wants the charges dropped, is an obviously forgiving and loving individual. He is actually doing what we all need to do - forgive. [This is not a ticket for law enforcement to not do its job, however]
Mark Miller June 07, 2014 at 06:37 AM
Reply to Barry V; I never said that I developed schizophrenia overnight (you did, thereby putting words in my mouth). There is such a thing as childhood schizophrenia, and in early teens it is also possible to form this mental illness, especially under excess stress conditions. Psychological research indicates that long term bullying can lead to various mental disorders (including schizophrenia) in early teens and young adulthood. As a child who suffered from bullying since kindergarten there isn't anyone to blame besides the public school system (and parents) for allowing it to continue unchecked. Again this was in the eighties and bullying had not received the public attention as it has since Columbine. In my adult years I am following the school shootings and am aware of the frequent links between unchecked bullying and school shooting and/or suicides. Since the eighties bullying has gained more attention in the mainstream media because shooters do not 'go quietly into the night' as suicide victims often did. Reply to George Murphy; When I was a teen Arthur Brisbane was still open, they closed several years after my discharge. The monster came out in my early teens along with the schizophrenia. It was a potentially violent act prevented by being placed in psychiatric care. Now as an adult I am much more sensitive to bullying, and unjust authority and various types of bullying is the best way to bring the monster back out again. Am taking meds, eating healthy, exercising and avoiding excessive stress to remain stable.
Mark Miller June 07, 2014 at 07:12 AM
Some online evidence; "Children Who Suffered Bullying Are More Likely to Develop Psychotic Symptoms in Early Adolescence" from the May 2009 issue of 'Archives of General Psychiatry'. The study was performed by Andrea Schreier, Ph.D. on 6,437 early teens average age of 12.9 years at the Warwick Medical School in Coventry, England. They were given interviews through mail (ALSPAC) and in person throughout and prior to the study. The conclusions were 46.2% were bullied and 53.8% were not. Those developing broad range psychosis; 13.7%, those with intermediate symptoms; 11.5% and narrow symptoms; 5.6%. Their conclusion; traumatic events such as victimization from bullying cause chronic stress that can set off symptoms of schizophrenia in someone with a genetic disposition for the illness. Please don't take my word for it and read the study for yourself; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/149130.php BTW - If Barry V doesn't take psychology seriously what business does he have discussing situations that effect the lives of children?
Rohbean T June 09, 2014 at 10:07 AM
Were they charged with animal cruelty, as well?

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