HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The family of a teenager, who police say lied about being attacked while waiting for his school bus last year, say their son is innocent.
“We assert our son’s innocence and we continue to stand strong as a family unit,” the statement reads. “Unfortunately, innocent people have to plead guilty all the time, for various reasons. If you have any questions for us, direct them to the prestonsfriends Facebook page. Again, we thank everyone for their support and love.”
Authorities say the then 15-year-old boy fabricated a report that he was struck on the head with a metal rod as he waited for his school bus in Lower Paxton Township last year.
The teen reported on Oct. 14, 2015 that he was standing at his school bus stop at Clover Road and Fairmont Drive when a car approached and he was struck from behind.
A GoFundMe account was set up and the teen collected about $4,300 in donations to help him attend an art school.
The teen on Wednesday, before Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas Judge William Tully, was adjudicated delinquent on the charges of false reports to law enforcement and theft by deception, according to District Attorney Ed Marsico.
“This was an incident that caused many people within the community to be fearful: a child standing alone at the bus stop and being randomly attacked,” Marsico said in a statement. “The randomness of this situation caused many people to contribute to a fund to help aid this child. In the end, the thorough investigation showed that in fact the whole story was made up.”
Marsico told ABC27 News the teen has no apparent injuries in surveillance video recorded on his school bus and at his school on the day of the reported attack, and he said witnesses denied they helped the boy at the bus stop.
He said the teen did have injuries days later that weren’t there earlier.
“There were some apparent injuries that occurred,” he said, “and we’re not able to say precisely what caused those. We do know with certainty that there was not an attack at the school bus stop.”
The teen’s father posted photographs of his son’s x-rays on Facebook and wrote, “In my opinion, the legal system is completely corrupt. This happened, I don’t care what they say.”
Marsico said the boy did not contest the charges in court. He was placed on probation with the Dauphin County Probation Department and ordered to complete 75 hours of community service.
He additionally was ordered to make restitution to anyone who contributed to the GoFundMe account. If you contributed, call Jessica Stoddard of the Dauphin County Victim Witness Assistance Program at 717-657-5656, ext. 1181, to complete a restitution claim.