LANHAM, Md. (WNEW) — An autistic Maryland teenager tells The Washington Post that he wants to remain friends with girls accused of abusing him.
Two St. Mary’s County girls, ages 17 and 15, were arrested in March after a St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office investigation alleged they coerced the 16-year-old boy to perform sexual acts, kicked him in the groin, dragged him around by his hair, assaulted him with a knife and compelled him to walk onto a partially frozen pond which caused him to fall through the ice.
Detectives reviewed videos from the girls’ cell phones in early March (The Post says another student heard about the videos and brought them to the attention of school authorities), and then interviewed them about the content of the recordings. Both suspects acknowledged recording the incidents, police say.
Lauren A. Bush, 17, of Mechanicsville, has been charged as an adult with two counts of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault, soliciting a subject in the production of child pornography and false imprisonment.
The Post reports she has been on house arrest, but will soon report to a state juvenile detention center for an extended period of psychological evaluation. Her parents are trying to have her trial transferred to juvenile court.
The second suspect, a 15-year-old female, faces the same charges but is being tried as a juvenile.
The Enterprise, a local Southern Maryland newspaper, reports that she remains in the juvenile detention center and has pleaded guilty in juvenile court to second-degree assault and displaying an obscene photograph.
The boy, identified only by his middle name of Michael in The Post‘s report, is a high-functioning sophomore at Chopticon High School. His autism is not outwardly apparent, but he does struggle with social situations and anxiety, according to The Post.
He says he wants charges against the girls dropped because they are his friends. He says he considers the younger of the two to be his girlfriend. While he admits at least one of the incidents was “sick” and “creepy”, he also says he does not feel like he was exploited and does not think the girls meant him any real harm.
His parents disagree with his judgement on the incident.
“My son is a staunch defender of his tormentors; it’s embarrassing,” his father told The Post. “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.”
Many others agree that the girls should be punished. Shortly after the story went public in March, the Internet community spewed vitriol about the pair, and hundreds of people signed an online petition in favor of charging them with hate crimes.