Thursday, May 10, 2001

Price of stupidity: Give up your MTV

Judge orders boys in stunt to shape up

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — Read the classics and quit watching TV.

        That's the sentence for the Jackass Four, the Independence high school teens accused of running over their buddy while trying to recreate a TV stunt showing a man jumping over a moving car.

        Kenton District Court Judge Martin Sheehan — who once ordered an Ohio man to wear a sign stating that he tried to buy sex and got caught — decided Wednesday that the boys can avoid formal prosecution if they adjust their behavior.

        The only shows the teen-agers may watch on TV for the next six months are nightly news programs. And, they must read 12 classics each and turn in a book report every two weeks.

        The boys, whose names are not being published because they are juveniles, became reluctant celebrities when tapes of the stunt aired on programs like NBC's Today.

        The stunt prompted Reebok to pull a commercial that showed a similar stunt.

        Independence police said the boys told them they were mimicking MTV's Jackass, which features people performing disgusting and outlandish stunts, but MTV producers said no such stunt was ever staged.

        The four boys maintained they were copying no one.

        “What they did was stupid and incredibly dangerous,” said Judge Sheehan. “I felt like there should be a consequence for their action, but that it should be tempered because the boys didn't intend for anyone to get hurt.”

        The 16-year-old who was hit appeared in juvenile court on crutches. The boys will be required to perform 50 to 100 hours of community service and pay restitution. Judge Sheehan also suspended their drivers' licenses for a year.

        If the boys don't meet the terms, they could be prosecuted on felony charges of wanton endangerment, punishable in adult court by up to five years in prison.


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