The mother of a Howell High School student says her son trusted the three fellow students who wound up attacking him and stealing his shoes - and recorded the vicious beating near the high school.
The Livingston County Prosecutor's Office announced on Monday that three juveniles have been charged as adults for the vicious beating of a teen with autism at Howell Skate Park in August. Two of the teens beat the unnamed student while a third recorded the attack and posted it on social media.
The mother of the boy, who we are calling "Debbie" talked with FOX 2 on Tuesday about her son's attack. She said her son has high-functioning autism and said, after she saw the video, it was obviously a planned assault.
"The fact that they continued to hit him and hit him even after he was down was pretty devastating to watch," Debbie said. "After seeing the video I was pretty horrified because it was obvious that it was planned."
According to the Livingston County Prosecutor's office, that's exactly what they believe: the attack was premeditated. The three teens, who were not named, were all charged with assault with intent to commit great bodily harm, a felony punishable by 10 years in the Michigan department of corrections.
According to the prosecutor's office, the teens acted as if they were befriending the student, who is new to the school district. The prosecutor said the three teens would spend time with the victim during lunch and encouraged him to come to the skatepark.
When he did, the prosecutor said they encouraged him to go around the back of the building and out of sight of the buses and freshman campus. Once they believed they were in the clear, the victim was attacked by two of the students. They pushed him down, punched, and kicked him multiple times, the prosecutor said.
The third student recorded the beating on his phone and posted it on social media.
He suffered a concussion and bruises in the beating but the deepest wound is the emotional one.
"He trusted these boys and that's made him question the sincerity of people and who has tried to befriend him and he's not sure who he can trust and who he can't, now," Debbie said.
The family had just moved to Howell this school year after getting out of a difficult domestic situation. This was supposed to be their fresh start.
"Every time the phone rings and it's him or the school, sometime during the day, I have a little bit of a pause in my breathing and I'm like what are we dealing with now," Debbie said.
The school has implemented new safety protocol to prevent something like this from happening again.
Debbie says she doesn't want her son to be defined as a victim or by his autism; he just wants friends, like any typical high schooler.
"I am a firm believer in grace and redemption and second changes and as long as these boys admit that what they did is wrong and they decide that they want to do better with their lives, I think that they deserve a second chance to do that," She said.
The family have set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for the teen's broken moped and fr his homecoming tuxedo. If you want to help, check out the GoFundMe link here.