A Maryland teen was sentenced to up to four years in a juvenile facility for torturing a 16-year-old autistic boy. Authorities said 17-year-old Lauren Bush physically, emotionally, and sexually abused the boy on numerous occasions.
According to reports, Lauren and her friend encouraged the boy, who is identified as Michael, to perform dangerous and humiliating stunts. In addition to the physical torture, the autistic boy was forced to walk across thin ice and have sexual relations with his dog.
Authorities said the girls recorded the abuse on their cell phones and shared the videos with other students. The teens were eventually turned in by one of their classmates.
Following an investigation into the claims, both girls were arrested and charged with first-degree assault, false imprisonment, and the production of child pornography.
Although Lauren Bush was initially charged as an adult, the case was later transferred to a juvenile court. Lauren eventually pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and distribution of an obscene video. As reported by Daily News, she was sentenced to spend up to four years in a juvenile detention facility.
Michael's parents said the sentence was far too light, as Lauren is "a danger to herself and the community." The autistic boy's father believes Lauren should have been charged as an adult:
"That was my son being assaulted in my house with one of my kitchen knives. It was really disturbing they would do that — and film it... I don't know where this would have ended if the girls hadn't been arrested."Although Michael's parents are unhappy with the outcome, their son is far more forgiving.
The autistic boy said the torture was more of a "game gone wrong." He admits the stunts were "sick" and "kind of creepy" but he contends the girls did not "have a serious intention about killing" him. Michael said he wants the criminal charges dropped.
As reported by Washington Post, Michael's father believes his son is terribly confused:
"My son is a staunch defender of his tormentors; it's embarrassing... 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. Right now, I am trying to get justice for him and others like him."Although both teens were charged and convicted of torturing an autistic boy, they both will be released before they are 21 years old.
[Image via Daily News]