Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty announced Oct. 14 that complaints have been filed in Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court against five youths who humiliated a classmate by dumping a bucket of urine, tobacco spit and water over his head shortly before the start of the school year – and captured the act on video.
Based on evidence gathered during a thorough investigation by the Bay Village Police Department, three of the juveniles were charged with two counts of delinquency, Assault and Disorderly Conduct. The other two juveniles were each charged with a single count of Disorderly Conduct.
A team of prosecutors from the Juvenile Division of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office reviewed the evidence in consultation with Bay Village Police and recommended charges. The family of the victim also has been consulted and concurs with today’s charging decision.
The five juveniles named in the complaint – which is the Juvenile Court equivalent of an indictment – range in age from 14 to 16.
Bay Village Police will ask the three juveniles facing more serious charges to come to the police station, along with their parents, to surrender and be booked. They will then be released pending an initial Juvenile Court appearance. The other two juveniles will be summoned to appear before the Juvenile Court Intake and Diversion Office.
The victim, a special needs student, was assaulted on August 18, on private property in Bay Village. The event was reported to Bay Village Police on September 3.
Evidence indicates the five charged juveniles and the victim were friends who regularly socialized together. On August 18, the victim was invited to one of the other boy’s home, purportedly to participate in the ALS Challenge, a fund-raising effort for medical research that had by then become a social media phenomenon.
Instead he was doused with water, urine and tobacco spit. The victim quickly realized what had really happened and felt humiliated.
“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,” said First Assistant County Prosecutor Duane Deskins, who heads the office’s Juvenile Division. “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.”
First Assistant Deskins added, “The charges recommended in this case strike a balance between punishment and rehabilitation. As the second oldest Juvenile Court in the country, the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court has a mission to ‘administer justice, rehabilitate juveniles, support and strengthen families, and promote public safety.”
“The judges at Juvenile Court routinely see cases equally or more severe than this one and have a broad spectrum of tools, including detention, community service and diversion, to meet its mission and to deliver justice for the victim, his family and the entire Bay Village community.