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Five Ohio teenagers accused of playing an Ice Bucket Challenge prank on an autistic classmate are facing criminal charges.
Prosecutors in Cuyahoga County, Ohio charged the teens -- all juveniles, ranging in ages from 14 to 16 -- with disorderly conduct. In addition, three of the teens are charged with misdemeanor assault, reports the The Plain Dealer. The charges stem from an incident earlier this year in which the teens dumped a bucket of filled with urine, tobacco, and spit on an autistic classmate who thought he was taking part in an ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video.
What are the details of this case, and how are juvenile criminal cases different from crimes involving adults?
The parents of the 15-year-old teen who was subjected to the prank reported the incident to police in September after video of the teen being doused with a bucket of brown liquid was posted on YouTube. The Ice Bucket Challenge typically features a person being soaked with ice cold water and became popular over the summer as a way to spread awareness of the disease ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.
Police say the teens charged in the incident told the autistic victim that he was taking part in an Ice Bucket Challenge, but instead doused him with the foul liquid. The liquid in the bucket was initially reported to have included feces, but police found no evidence that the liquid included fecal matter, reports The Plain Dealer.
Although juveniles (those under the age of 18 in most states, 16 in other states) may sometimes be tried as adults for their crimes, in this case, the five teens are all being charged as juveniles. In juvenile proceedings, violation of the law are considered "delinquent acts" as opposed to "crimes," and the proceedings are generally considered "hearings" as opposed to "trials," with the results of juvenile hearings being sealed following adjudication.
In this case, the teens charged in the prank were not arrested by police. The three juveniles facing the more serious assault charges were instead asked to come to the police station with their parents to surrender and be booked, according to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's press release, while the other two teens will be issued summons. Possible punishments facing the teens may include detention in a juvenile facility, community service, and diversion programs.
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