The four boys accused of sexual assault in a locker room hazing incident at Damascus High School (Md.) will be tried as juveniles, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Jean Claude “J.C.” Abedi, the final defendant to be ruled upon, was moved to the juvenile court Thursday.
The group of 15-year-old junior varsity football players were initially to be tried as adults.
They are accused of entering the freshman locker room and blocking the exit before raping multiple teammates with a broomstick on Oct. 31.
While the trial has moved to the juvenile system, charges against Abedi, Kristian Jamal Lee, Daniel Smith and Caleb Thorpe remain the same: one count of first-degree rape, three counts of attempted first-degree rape, and four counts of conspiracy to commit rape, according to WJLA.
Salant “ruled on the side of rehabilitation over punishment,” the Daily News wrote.
Part of the reason for the change stemmed from Abedi’s ADHD, which went undiagnosed for years until the month after the attack.
“There was not one psychological assessment done by the schools, not one,” said Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Steven G. Salant, according to the Baltimore Sun.
“There was no test for learning disorders. . . . We have a kid churning and churning.”
Abedi had been suspended 11 times throughout schooling prior to the alleged October attack, according to the Baltimore Sun. Montgomery Assistant State’s Attorney Carlotta Woodward told the outlet these incidents include theft, bullying and fighting.
The Maryland Department of Juvenile Services recommended juvenile court for the other three defendants, according to the Baltimore Sun. The department recommended an adult court for Abedi.
But Salant said that since Abedi was diagnosed with ADHD in November, he has been “calmer,” “more compliant” and is “amenable to help,” according to the Baltimore Sun.
Woodward doesn’t think the ADHD was the cause of the alleged attack. The accused were reportedly laughing during the incident, which she said wouldn’t be a symptom of the disorder.
John McCarthy, the head prosecutor in Montgomery County, had similar doubts about the correlation.
“I don’t think there’s any causal connection between suffering from ADHD and committing violent sexual attacks,” he said to the Baltimore Sun.