Teens Who Pulled Ice Bucket Challenge Prank On Autistic Teenager Charged With Assault
Here's an appalling twist on an usual heart-warming viral sensation: Five Ohio teens were charged on Tuesday with assault and disorderly conduct over a cruel ALS Ice Bucket Challenge prank on an autistic teenager. The Columbus Dispatch reports that the teens, who range in age from 14 to 16, face criminal charges after dumping a bucket full of urine, feces and tobacco spit on their autistic classmate, who thought he was participating in the fun charity challenge. The teens will be charged as juveniles.
The terrible prank occurred on Aug. 18 outside one of the suspect's homes in Bay Village, Ohio, The Columbus Dispatch reports. In the video, the 15-year-old is seen standing on the driveway in his underwear.
Authorities became aware of the incident when the mother of the 15-year-old autistic teenager saw the video on her son's cellphone in early September. Yes, that's right: The five suspects filmed the assault on the victim's own cellphone, then posted the video online. According to the victim's mother, he was humiliated and hurt by incident, and so he didn't tell anyone about it.
The video angered police in Bay Village, a suburb of Cleveland. Bay Village Police Chief Mark Spaetzel told the Northeast Ohio Media Group that the prank was "reprehensible" and a clear violation that took "advantage of a vulnerable teenager."
At the time, Bay Village Schools Superintendent Clint Keener said in a statement on the school district's website:
Our entire Bay Village Schools community is heartsick over the cruel actions taken against one of our special-needs students. The student and family targeted by this act have our utmost sympathy, and we will work to let this student know that we care very much about his well-being.
Although having the video on social media further traumatized the victim, his mother decided to use the Internet for good. The autistic teen's mother urged the public to share an edited video of the assault on social media channels to help authorities track down the suspects. At this time, it has nearly 434,000 views. The video grabbed the attention of Cleveland native Drew Carey, who promptly donated $10,000 to the reward set up by the Bay Village Police Department.
According to Cleveland.com, the five teens are due in court on Nov. 6. A county prosectur said Tuesday in a statement that while the five suspects and the victims were all friends and used to pulling pranks on each other, this repulsive ice bucket challenge "crossed a moral and legal line."
Dean Valore, an attorney representing the 15-year-old victim and his family, agreed, telling The Columbus Dispatch that the assault charges were valid. He added that his clients just "wants to fit in and he wants to have friends."
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