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Man jail for mocking a disabled girl
From: abcNews          Published On: November 29, 2012, 16:42 GMT
 
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An Ohio man faces one month of jail time for teasing and taunting a 1o-year-old girl with cerebral palsy after a video of the incident went viral.

Judge John A. Poulos of the Canton Municipal Court sentenced 43-year-old William Bailey to 29 days in jail.

The taunting occurred on Sept. 26, when Tricia Knight and her mother-in-law were waiting for her children's bus to return from school. Knight's three children, including 10-year-old Hope, attend Walker Elementary with Bailey's 9-year-old son, Joseph.

What happened next was caught on an iPod camera by Knight's mother-in-law, Marie Prince.

William Bailey "was dragging his leg and patting his arm across his chest to pick his son Joseph up," said Knight. "I asked him to please stop doing this. 'My daughter can see you.' He then told his son to walk like the R-word."

The next day Knight posted the video on her Facebook page while Prince uploaded the video they called "Bus Stop Ignorance" to YouTube. Within days, the video went viral.

The Knight family has lived next door to the Baileys for the past two years, and the incident at the bus stop, according to Knight, is the culmination of rising tensions and intimidation against her kids.

In the days that followed the taunting at the bus stop, the Knight family filed a complaint with Canton City prosecutors.

Jennifer Fitzsimmons, the chief assistant city prosecutor for this case, says in the three years she's been in this role, she's never seen anything like this.

"I think when we look at cases, there's case law out there regarding people commenting and gesturing against race and religion. But when there's nothing out there regarding disabilities, it took me a little bit longer to come to a decision."

After Fitzsimmons reviewed the Knight family's complaint, a police report based on a phone call from the Knight family, and the video captured by Prince, she decided to press charges.

Bailey, who works as a truck driver, was charged twice. He was originally charged for aggravated menacing, a misdemeanor of the first degree. In this charge, the victim was Knight, an incident she says took place the same day as the bus stop scene.

In Ohio, a menacing charge is a misdemeanor fourth degree, which carries a maximum of 30 days in jail.

The second original charge, for the bus stop incident, was disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. A disorderly conduct is a minor misdemeanor and carries no jail time.

Although Bailey's sentencing technically reflects the charges brought by his actions toward Knight, Hope's mother, Fitzsimmons explains how the plea deal enabled the sentence to cover his actions toward Hope.

Judge Poulos required Bailey to pay $400 in court costs as well as other fees. He was given a credit for one day which is why his sentence is 29 days and not the maximum 30.

Following the Nov. 27 hearing, Bailey's attorney, John R. Giua, released a statement and apology on Bailey's behalf, according to the The Repository, an online newspaper for Stark County, Ohio.

Hope was born 29 weeks premature after Knight was involved in a head-on auto collision.

When she was born, Hope weighed only two pounds, 12 ounces, which caused several medical problems resulting in two brain surgeries. Knight says her daughter fought for her life the first two years.


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