Lauren A. Bush, 17, the older of two girls accused of repeatedly assaulting a 16-year-old autistic boy, pleaded guilty Thursday in St. Mary’s County juvenile court to two misdemeanor charges, a surprising setback for prosecutors who wanted her tried in adult court, where she could have faced as much as 80 years in prison.
St. Mary’s Judge Michael Stamm will formally sentence Bush next week, but at most she would serve four years in a secure juvenile detention center in Maryland or outside the state. Bush pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and distribution of an obscene video.
The plea deal marked a defeat for law enforcement authorities. Earlier Thursday in St. Mary’s County Circuit Court, prosecutor John Pleisse tried to persuade a judge that Bush’s case should remain in adult court, where she could have been tried on two first-degree assault charges that carry 25-year sentences each.
But St. Mary’s County Circuit Court Judge David Densford ruled that even though Bush’s conduct was “chilling,” she did not deserve to be sent to an adult women’s prison. He said a secure juvenile facility would instead ensure her rehabilitation and safety for the community.
The other girl in the case, a 15-year-old whom the boy considered his girlfriend, was sentenced in April to a maximum of six yearsin a state juvenile detention facility.
SOURCE: Ian Shapira
The Washington Post