Friday, March 17, 2000

White teens admit to racist flier

Black family targeted; boys get probation

Enquirer Contributor

        HAMILTON — Two white teen-age boys admitted Thursday they had placed racist fliers in the door of a black family in Middletown.

        The boys, ages 16 and 17, pleaded “true” — the equivalent of guilty in adult court — to juvenile charges of criminal mischief and ethnic intimidation. Both are students at Middletown High School.

        Material for the fliers — printed on computers at Middletown High School — were taken from books found in the MHS library, the 17-year-old said in a hearing before Butler County Juvenile Court Magistrate Michael Braun.

        He said they placed just one flier on the door of Chris Sillet, of Fleming Street, and others on street lights in the neighborhood.

        When asked why they put the flier on Mr. Sillet's door, the 16-year-old said someone had asked them to do it. “We did not know him. ... I wasn't really thinking when I went into it.”

        Probation supervisor Bill Schick said it was the first time any such material had been placed on Mr. Sillet's door at that address.

        The Cincinnati Enquirer is not naming the boys because they are juveniles.

        “It's called ignorance and stupidity,” Mr. Braun said before ordering the teens to take part in a victim offender remediation program. Each also will have to pay court costs, write a letter of apology to Mr. Sillet, ,attend a diversity education program, and may not possess any racist materials. The boys were put on probation.

        A third teen involved in last week's incident asked to have an attorney appointed for him. He will appear in court today on the same charges.

        Following the hearing, the mother of the 17-year-old said she believes the boys got a fair hearing. It is the first time her son has been in trouble, she said, and her son has already apologized in person to Mr. Sillet and his family.

        “I'm embarrassed,” the boy's mother said. “I don't have those feelings. We are Christian people. We don't believe in that kind of stuff.”

        The 16- and 17-year-olds have been suspended from school, and face expulsion hearings next week. The 15-year-old, a Monroe High School student, does not face any school punishment.


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