CLEVELAND (AP) — Five suburban teenage boys were charged with dumping a bucket of urine, water and tobacco spit on an autistic 15-year-old boy who thought he was participating in the ice bucket challenge for charity.
The Cuyahoga County prosecutor’s office filed the charges Tuesday in juvenile court against the teens, who are between the ages of 14 and 16.
Three of the teens face juvenile charges of delinquency, assault and disorderly conduct. They will be asked to go with their parents to the Bay Village police station to be booked. The other two teens were charged with disorderly conduct and will be sent summons to appear in court.
All the teens, including the victim, are from Bay Village near Cleveland and attend Bay High School.
The encounter occurred on Aug. 18 at one of the suspect’s homes, authorities said. It was reported to police on Sept. 3 after the victim’s mother found a video of it on her son’s cellphone.
The woman urged the media to share the video widely, and celebrities including Cleveland native Drew Carey offered reward money to catch whoever was involved — although authorities said they knew who dumped the bucket on the teen.
Duane Deskins, the prosecutor in charge of the juvenile division, said in a statement that the victim and the five suspects were friends who would sometimes “engage in distasteful and sophomoric pranks,” but added that the fake ice bucket “is clearly different.”
Dean Valore, an attorney who represents the autistic boy and his family, said the teen was scarred by the incident but is doing better thanks to the support he’s received.
“He wants to be a normal kid,” Valore said. “He wants to fit in and he wants to have friends.”
Valore said the assault charges “have some teeth.”
“It’s not a slap on the wrist,” he said.
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