Bay Village Teens Plead Guilty To Charges In ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Prank Against Autistic Peer
The charges stem from a prank where the 15-year-old victim was told he'd be participating in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The taped incident shows the autistic boy getting doused with the foul concoction as his peers laugh off-camera.
Cleveland attorney John Lawson represents one of the accused perpetrators. He says the youths were all friends, and none knew the victim was autistic. He says the incident was only part of the pranking they had pulled on each other all summer…and his 16-year-old client has dealt with a lot since.
“You know, when you get involved with doing what teenagers do, nobody can project when suddenly you’re going to be on the front page of every paper in the country," says Lawson. "Unfortunately, that’s what happened in this case. I think he’s embarrassed and sorry for the victim and his family….but his own parents...obviously have been through a lot because of this scrutiny, too.”
Lawson says he’s been contacted by a Beachwood group that serves autistic youth, and hopes that his client may be assigned community service with them.
“It would help my client to learn more…and I think that our society could only get better if we had more education, especially about autistic children.”
The incident sparked global outrage, for what many considered a cruel and humiliating prank against a disabled child.
The magistrate judge’s sentencing – or “disposition” in juvenile court terms -- before Thanksgiving.
Two other teens face lesser charges.