SOUTH BEND, IND. (CN) – To secure a tougher punishment, St. Joseph County maliciously prosecuted a mentally disabled 10-year-old boy as an “older person” for engaging in sexual behavior with a 10-year-old girl, the boy’s grandparents claim in Federal Court. They say a state employee Maced their grandson while he was in custody.
The grandparents say their grandson has bipolar disorder and Broca aphasia, a brain problem “similar to mild mental retardation.” The girl involved in the incident is a classmate of the boy at a counseling center for children with behavior problems.
The alleged sexual behavior was not violent, resulted in no physical trauma, and the girl apparently cooperated in it, the complaint states.
The grandparents say the boy was Maced by an employee of the St. Joseph County Juvenile Justice Center while he was awaiting trial.
They say the state maliciously elicited trial testimony that the boy was 11, not 10, so it could prosecute him as an “older person.” He was convicted of child molestation and spent more than two years in juvenile detention, where he was Maced again, the grandparents say.
They demand damages for violations of due process, malicious prosecution, and excessive force. They are represented by Brendan Shiller with the Civil Rights Center of Chicago.