Thursday, September 14, 2000

Mason boys: 10 hours, 30 days


Service, probation the punishment

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — A juvenile magistrate ordered three Mason boys on Wednesday to serve 10 hours of community service and 30 days of probation in a case that some say never should have landed in court because it was nothing more than an adolescent sexual encounter.

        The 14-year-old boys, initially charged with felony sex crimes but later convicted of a single misdemeanor in an incident involving three female classmates, also may have the charge erased from their records after they are released from probation.

        Barred by the court from even speaking to one anoth er since their March arrests, the teens, now freshmen at Mason High School, stood together in a circle in the courthouse lobby smiling and chatting after the hearing.

        Relatives of the boys expressed relief that the case was over, but said the ordeal instilled in them a distrust of police and the legal system.

        “The system works, but it makes mistakes,” said a grandmother of one of the boys.

        “Hopefully, this won't happen to nobody else,” a father added.

        In an investigation that one defense lawyer criticized as shoddy, Mason police charged the boys with numerous felony sex charges — including rape, sexual battery and complicity to those crimes — following a March 11 incident at the home of one of the 14-year-old girls.

        Authorities said the girls became intoxicated and the boys visited the residence while the girl's mother was on a shopping trip.

        An assistant principal at Mason Middle School, where the six were eighth-graders at the time, reported the incident after gossip began circulating around the school.

        The prosecutors' case began to fall apart Sept. 5, when Magistrate Joe Kirby, after listening to testimony from the girls and others, acquitted one of the boys of all serious sex charges. Instead, he convicted the boy of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

        “Magistrate Kirby was the first authority figure they have experienced through this whole thing that treated (the boys) with respect,” defense lawyer Greg Hatcher said. “He is the first one that believed them when they were telling the truth.”

       



Arena needs financial help
The hungry get the runaround
Playing with gun leaves boy dead at 13
Earlier case has striking similarity
$1 million departure: Jewel-laden bag missing from flight
- Mason boys: 10 hours, 30 days
Report: Sprawl bad in Mason
Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati opens this weekend
Fort Thomas woman left amid filth
Prosecutors's balloons, discs raise questions
PULFER: Love letters
Davy Jones won't be monkeying around
Best sellers
Dulli finds some peace
Early word
Piping's peak: Cincinnati players open for Black Watch
Seniors strike personal poses
Union Terminal bustled with activity in '30s
WorldJam trades asphalt for Sawyer Point
Attorneys argue obligation of insurer in sex-abuse case
Auditor wants full authority
Boy, 6, sent to school as girl
Chabot, Cranley get tough in ads
County agrees to ante up
Fairfield theme is respect, beginning with 'Your School'
Father's statements recounted to court
Feds: Restaurants broke child labor laws
Indiana gas tax suspended again
Industrial park might get rail access
Ken Blackwell recovering from prostate cancer surgery
Kicks offers kids, families an evening on the riverfront
Kiwanis to hold safety fair
Lawyers for suspect, 52, argue he's still a juvenile in 1963 slaying
Money offered in pool death
Nine teachers now semifinalists
Nuns offer tours of Motherhouse in Delhi Twp. on Sunday
Panel to study DUI prosecutions
Pete Rose bats for Deters
Pledge protester back in class
Police officer honored as a hero
Runway OK moving slowly
Warren gets med copter
Get to it
Kentucky News Briefs
Pig Parade: Pig-Tac-Toe
Tristate A.M. Report