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article imageTeens arrested after attack on mentally disabled man

By Megan Hamilton     Sep 9, 2014 in Crime
New Castle - Three Delaware teens have been arrested and charged with allegedly assaulting a mentally disabled man after complaining that they were being harassed after a video of the assault was posted on the social media, officials said Monday.
A third teenager has been arrested and charged for his alleged role in the attack on the 26-year-old mentally disabled man in Delaware.
The teen, 14, turned himself in at New Castle County Police headquarters on Monday evening, NBC 10 reports. Two other Delaware teens were arrested and charged for their alleged over the weekend.
There are several videos showing the sickening attacks. One video shows a teen chasing the man in front of an apartment complex. The frightened man runs away from the boy, pleading with him and asking to be left alone. Next, the teen grabs the man and body slams him to the ground, and the man screams in agony. Then the boy starts punching and kicking the man in the head while his friends laugh in the background.
In two other videos the teenagers attack the same man in a wooded area. Once again, one video shows a teen body slamming the man to the ground amidst the laughter of his friends. The other video shows the boys punching and pushing the man to the ground, NBC reports.
Police are currently searching for more suspects.
The first two teens were arrested Saturday after going to police headquarters with their parents to complain about threatening phone calls after their personal contact information was listed on the social media, New Castle County police officer Tracey Duffy told The Associated Press.
All three of the boys, ages 13 and 14, were charged with offensive touching, assault of a vulnerable adult, and conspiracy. They were released on $2,500 bonds after being arraigned. Their names have not been released.
Investigators are trying to determine how many times the victim was assaulted and how many people were involved. They think the 27-year-old man was hit more than once, and county police sergeant Jacob Andrews said Monday afternoon that investigators are looking at "...definitely more arrests," AP reports.
In the video, the teens can be seen chasing, punching and body-slamming the man as he screamed for mercy. One teen punches him repeatedly, then picks him up and throws him to the ground at least twice, The Daily Mail reports.
They crowd around the frightened man and one teen who is filming the attack on his cellphone gets closer as the man writhes on the ground. Other videos show the teens continuing their attack in a wooded area. They can be heard laughing as they body slam the man.
"You guys are so mean to him," a woman's voice cries at one point.
Investigators think that the attacks began in July. The most recent attack happened a couple of weeks ago, per the AP. While Duffy didn't provide a lot of details,she did say that the victim was treated for an injury that wasn't life threatening after one of the attacks.
"It's been a frenzy," said Soraya Cristan, a teenager from White Settlement, Texas.
Cristan claims the videos inspired her to create an anti-bullying campaign online.
"The tag #TheBullyProject has had over 50,000 posts," Cristan said. "People have spread the awareness all over the Internet."
Angeliz Marrero,16, of New Castle County knew she had to do something after she saw one of the videos so she reposted it to her Instagram followers, she told a Philadelphia TV station, the AP reports.
"I was so mad, but at the same time, the first thing I thought was, 'I have to do something about this," she said.
After posting the video, Marrero said her followers went from 2,000 to 20,000 in less than 24 hours.
The victim's godmother, Debra Hunter-Lee, 51, said when she asked him why he hadn't told anyone about the bullying, he replied that he was embarrassed and thought he was in trouble.
She told him he wasn't in trouble.
"He jumped up and hugged me...because he actually thought he had done something wrong."
The first two suspects were arrested after police who were investigating their complaints watched the video which shows the man being body-slammed, stomped on and punched repeatedly in the head. She added that she didn't know if the suspects were cooperating with authorities.
Police interviewed the victim at a hospital over the weekend and then dropped by the apartment complex Monday morning to see that he was okay, Hunter-Lee said, adding that the man is staying with a family friend for his own protection.
"You have some kids around the complex who would embrace him...and then you have those kids who would take advantage of him," she told the AP.
Her godson suffers from Williams syndrome, a disorder that is characterized by intellectual disability or learning problems, outgoing personalities and facial features that are distinctive, Hunter-Lee noted, saying he likes to listen to music, watch TV, and walk around the neighborhood.
"He has an infectious smile," she said, and she and her friends are encouraging people to wear yellow T-shirts in a show of support because it's his favorite color.
Delaware Governor Jack Markell, an advocate for employing disabled people, condemned the assault and said he was "horrified and sickened" by the teenagers actions in the video.
More about teens arrested, attack on mentally disabled man, new castle delaware, Associated press, nbc10
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