Thursday, August 24, 2000

Mason teen to know his fate within weeks

Sexual battery trial ending for 1 of 3 boys

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — A Mason boy charged with two other teens in the alleged sexual assault of three female classmates might not know the verdict in his case until early next month, even though testimony in his trial ended Wednesday.

        Magistrate Joe Kirby of Warren County Juvenile Court told lawyers in the case that he will decide on the 14-year-old's case by Sept. 5 — a day before the other teens go on trial. Magistrate Kirby also will preside over those trials.

        The mother of the boy said she was pleased that her son will know his fate by then.

        “We felt like our child is entitled to a decision before the other boys' trial begins. They are separate cases,” she said. “We're just glad we don't have to go back in that courtroom.”

        She said her son testified for nearly three hours Wednesday. He is charged with sexual battery, gross sexual imposition and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

        One of the other two boys is charged with rape, sexual battery, attempted sexual battery and contributing. A third teen faces trial on charges of complicity to rape, complicity to attempted rape and sexual battery.

        Authorities allege the 14-year-old girls were sexually assaulted March 11 after they became intoxicated and invited the boys over to one of the girls' homes for two hours while her mother was shopping. There was no sexual intercourse involved, they said.

        After months of being tutored at home, the boys were allowed to attend class at Mason High School, where they are freshmen.

        Judge P. Daniel Fedders of Warren County Common Pleas Court had barred the teens from finishing the school year at Mason Middle School last year. Prosecutors had argued that the boys' presence there would threaten the alleged victims. The suspects and alleged victims all were eighth-graders at the time.

        But Judge Fedders noted Monday that the boys had not been convicted, and that they deserved a chance to attend school because their court cases had dragged on for months.

        Two of the girls are enrolled at the high school this year. The third has withdrawn and is attending private school.


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