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Felony in Beating Caught on Tape?

Felony in Beating Caught on Tape?


The Unioto High School student whose brutal attack on a 15-year-old gay student was taped and posted on YouTube could face a felony charge.

The fight drew outrage last week after local Ohio news station WSYX interviewed the victim's mother, who narrated what she saw on a cell phone video recording of her son being ambushed on October 17. The mother, Rebecca Collins, criticized the three-day suspension the attacker received as too little and instead called the attack a hate crime.

"It's my son," she said, "and they did it just because he's a homosexual."

The attacker has still not returned to school because his mother took him out of town for fear of the media attention, according to the Chillicothe Gazette. And the newspaper reports that the girl who taped the fight has also been disciplined and is being kept out of school by her mother.

Collins and her son, who is not being identified, will meet this week with the Ross County prosecutor, Matt Schmidt. The prosecutor is trying to determine the extent of his injuries to see whether they qualify for a felony charge. He did not mention the possibility of the attack being labeled a hate crime, as Collins had requested.

The high school's principal, Jim Osborne, told the Gazette that he is also considering a new punishment "in light of the new evidence." The punishment was issued before video surfaced, and before Collins told them about an antigay slur posted by the attacker on her son's Facebook photo two days ahead of the fight.

The principal and the prosecutor are both being flooded with emails and phone calls from across the country in reaction to the video, and the discipline so far.

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