crime

Son of U.S. Air Force officer found guilty in rope incident case

67 Comments

The 19-year-old son of an American Air Force officer stationed at Yokota Air Base in Musashimurayama, Tokyo, was found guilty by the Tachikawa branch of the Tokyo district court for tying a length of rope across a public road in August of last year, causing serious injury to a female motorcyclist. In the Nov 12 ruling, he was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for three years.

In the incident, the defendant and three teenage friends (also children of military personnel) tied a rope across the road causing the 24-year-old woman, who was riding a small motorbike to fall and fracture her skull. The man, who cannot be named because he is a minor, was originally arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, but the charge was reduced to obstruction of traffic and causing injury. His friends who were aged 16-18 were not charged and remanded into the custody of the U.S. military. They have since left Japan.

In handing down his ruling, the judge said: "This incident had no purpose or clear motive. It was nothing but troublemaking, dangerous, illegal and vicious."

© Compiled from news reports

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67 Comments
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He got off easy. As an adult, they had every right to try him as an attempted murderer. He's lucky nobody died.

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Should have been attempted murder. What a fool.

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Follow up at last! Please have more stories that follow-up the initial reporting of the crime...and it would be nice to know how the victim is doing and whether she was compensated...

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A terribly dangerous thing to do. This is one of those crimes where the brutal Indonesian punishment of caning would've been a nice supplement to this sentence.

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I agree he got off easy and is lucky nobody died. I have to admint though that I have been tempted to try this due to the loud motorbikes that won't let me sleep at night...

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The kid got off pretty easy, I'd say. While I don't think he should have been charged with attempted murder (and I remember people crying for that at the time), he should have done some time -- at least in a reformatory. The judge is bang on in saying it was simply vicious.

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Hmm, I wonder what the ones 18+ will get if they're back on US bases they'll be charged as adults. "once you hit 18 son, the world will be doling out the punishments not me" said my mum during my little trouble making days with the law.

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I have to admint though that I have been tempted to try this due to the loud motorbikes that won't let me sleep at night...

Hmm...everyone does. I have heard that buckets of poop might do the trick. Safe and legal...well kind of. Or just soapy or oily water on the road. Oops, spilled my bucket. But, why the police let this problem go on and on over the decades beats the hell out of me. Confiscate the bike, put the biker in jail for two months, and this problem might go away. And I am a liberal, but waking people up at night is psycho. But in this case, it was clearly psycho as it was a poor woman on a scooter.

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This young lady fractured her skull. She was not wearing a helmet? Does Japan have a helmet law for motorcycle? If she had a helmet on, maybe the injuries might not have been severe.

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sjfp330...is that really relevant? Who ties ropes across roads without any other intention of causing what happened. Dude got off way to easy. Fractured skull...pretty serious injury.

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This dickhead should be doing jail for this stoopid act, how dumb can one be to do this on a public road? Maybe watchin too many cartoons and thought it was funny? His old man needs to take the kid by the scruff of the neck too.

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Give him the rope

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It seems like someone has 'pulled a few strings' for him... How did he get away so lightly?

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Weather or not she was wearing a helmet is not the case nor does it matter in the ruling. A helmet will not always protect from critical damage depending on how you fall. the bottom line is that he got off easy and I hope now that he is over the age of 18, as a "minor" adult by US laws he is sent the hell out of Japan. Of course it probably wasn't attempted murder but a couple of months at least in the coop would give him more to think about for his future.

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sfjp330 at 09:47 AM JST - 16th November This young lady fractured her skull. She was not wearing a helmet? Does Japan have a helmet law for motorcycle? If she had a helmet on, maybe the injuries might not have been severe.

She probably was wearing a helmet, but helmets don't magically dissipate the force of rapidly decelerating from 40km/hr to zero in an instant. Without a helmet she would almost certainly have died.

As it is I'm shocked that this guy got away with "obstruction of traffic and causing injury". That's pathetic. If the rope had hit someone on the neck it would definitely have caused death, and if the rope was even higher and had caught on the top of a helmet it probably could have snapped their neck.

This guy's going to get away with no criminal record, which seems to me... well, criminal.

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genji17 at 10:14 AM JST - 16th November sjfp330...is that really relevant? Who ties ropes across roads without any other intention of causing what happened. Dude got off way to easy. Fractured skull...pretty serious injury.

It is relevant. I guess you never driven a motorcycle. I've driven many motorcycles and dirt bike. If you wear helmets, this is extra protection against the fall. Point was if she was not wearing helmet, you have no margin for error and you if you make mistake, you will have major injuries or death.

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I would think 3 years of intensive community service would have been more appropriate than a simple suspended sentence. I'm glad Japan doesn't have the idiotic "justice" system of the USA where everything is bent on revenge, that is one of the main problems with American culture. Retributive justice is damaging to everyone. I do very much think that a young man of 19 should be held responsible, and prison being counter-productive I would advocate intensive community service during a suspended sentence.

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sfjp330 - perhaps she was wearing a helmet and might have died if she hadn't? This punk got off easy - a suspended sentence. Pah. The pride of his country isn't he.

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if she was not wearing helmet, you have no margin for error and you if you make mistake,

Even if she wasn't wearing a helmet....I cant see where she made a mistake. Anyways, the kid got off eazy. And I hope the lady has made a full recovery.

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This was an ill intentioned attempt to kill or maim, the kids should face dire consistences for their foolishness.

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Kid should be ordered to be her servant for a year - bring her coffee, do her shopping, laundry, and carry her shopping bags. If he screws that up, put him in jail.

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A suspended sentence ??

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There's a much better article about this at stripes.com. JT won't let me post a direct link to it.

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He got off lightly because Japan suddenly feels the need for the US protection.

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This young lady fractured her skull. She was not wearing a helmet? Does Japan have a helmet law for motorcycle? If she had a helmet on, maybe the injuries might not have been severe.

I agree. She was probably wearing one of those skid lids around her neck at the time. If full face she probably would have gotten away with a slight concussion. But even still it does not excuse this kids behavior. Doing something like that deserves sever punishment. I'd say the cane as well like another poster mentioned. Whip him good.

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This punk got off way to easy. Agree with some of you here.. seems like someone pulled a few strings on this one. Also agree with Speed, yep caning would've been very nice supplement indeed! This punk would have deserved it. Only reason why someone would tie rope across the road is pretty obvious. His intentions were clear. Should be no mercy in punishment for such types of people.

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Why are people speculating about the lady wearing a helmet? It's good she's alive!! Also even wearing a helmet, hitting ones head hard enough will cause a stress fracture!! I think the kids father will deal with proper punishment for his spawn.

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Youthfull prank my ass.

Maybe he should ask his dad, etc why in wwii, vietnam, etc jeeps, etc were equipped with wire-cutters to cut the ropes/metla wires at neck-height that the enemy strung to decapitate drivers and riders.

He got off way to easy, IMHO.

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Son of American military man found guilty in rope incident

Thought this was a typo at first...

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"Why are people speculating about the lady wearing a helmet?"

It is called "blaming the victim." For some people, it is a full time job here on JT.

I think this kid would have benefitted society quite a bit more if he had spent his time studying for a CPA exam. Even if he had failed the exam, at least the young woman would still be alive.

The kid got off way too easy for one simple reason: He knew exactly what would happen when he did it. His intent was to cause grievous bodily harm and that is what he did. What 16 year old would not understand that? I don't know what the appropriate sentence is, but I would say at least 5 years, possible parole in 3 or something. He gets out at 24 maybe? His victim was 24, so he can pick up his life from there.

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I am a Biker too and something sticking out that can knock me of my ride is a constant worry. Also been in the Military and know how common a rope/metal wire stretched is used to take out enemy troops. The guy is the son of a SOLDIER for crying out loud.

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As I remember it, she was a newspaper delivery lady and she was wearing a helmet.

No-one else here remember this?

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sigh....

this boy's probably jumping up and down with a big smile on his face.. he'll behave for a few years while still living with his parents, then go back to the states and live like nothing ever happened in japan.

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and rest of the kids who got away with no punishment are the same -- they will go back to the states with their parents in a few years and then live like nothing happened... :(

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Just read Stars and Stripes and read the comments made by military affiliated people and other Americans.. It made me scared when I read comments like he didn't kill anyone, or American military wouldn't be in Japan if Japan didn't bomb Pearl Harbor etc etc.. This woman has lost some of the functions she used to have and she has hard time communicating because of the brain damage.. she now also has some learning disability... The family of this 19-year-boy paid 17000 dollars and the boy said he was sorry for what happened ... I mean, he's sorry for WHAT HAPPENED and NOT WHAT HE HAS DONE???? And another comment said that the person knows this boy (yokota resident) and the boy has been out partying and etc the whole time.... This DID NOT CHANGE HIS LIFE much while this CHANGED HER LIFE BIG TIME..

I know that kids are kids and do stupid stuff, but to me, this ruling is insane.. It just sounds like the family paid gomen-nasai money and they wanted to be DONE WITH IT... but the woman has to suffer from the damage for the rest of her life, and the 17000 dollars will NOT cover the whole medical bill for the rest of her life and the difference that she makes now and before..

This, sadly, made an example to many U.S. military dependants that they can get away with not being punished when they do stupid things in Japan.. :(

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fishy at 03:53 PM JST - 16th November Just read Stars and Stripes and read the comments made by military affiliated people and other Americans.. It made me scared when I read comments like he didn't kill anyone, or American military wouldn't be in Japan if Japan didn't bomb Pearl Harbor etc etc..

And then people turn around and ask, "Why don't people like the U.S.?"... it's pretty much for comments like this.

It just sounds like the family paid gomen-nasai money and they wanted to be DONE WITH IT

Well, that is the Japanese way. You pay the "gomen" money and no-one mentions the issue again.

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I am with buggerlugs, klien2 and fishy. Sad. I hope that Japan makes peace with China and sends these folks home.

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No matter what the laws say, a 19 years old person is an adult, he should not get away from this so easy.

Regarding the following; "he was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for three years." I don't get it. Does it mean that he'll go to prison in three years from now?

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they had every right to try him as an attempted murderer. He's lucky nobody died.

Or worse suffered terrible brain damage....

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Sorry, but welcome to the new world.

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One thing is wonder about is whether this follows him anywhere. Or is it a case of what happens in Japan stays in Japan.

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He was handed a 2 year sentence with 3 years probation. Basically he got a a get out of jail free card. In America he would have been tried as an adult and served some time and paid 10 to 20 times the amount he did in Japan. More than likely the Yokota command has removed this young man from Japan already and his Father`s career is in jeopardy of being retired at his current rank. The family will pay for his sons poor choose of fun. I feel sorry for the young woman they hurt and hope she makes a full recovery.

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Well, that is the Japanese way. You pay the "gomen" money and no-one mentions the issue again.

no it is NOT the Japanese way, at least in this case, the sorry money would not solve the problem nor make the problem go away.

if someone rear-ends someone else's car, nobody is injured but if it's clearly your fault, sorry money would be a good thing and would make the other party feel better. but when someone is injured and has brain damage, sorry money would not make them shut their mouths, and it shouldn't.

and this is serious enough that the issue will be and should be mentioned regardless of the sorry money paid or not.

I bet this boy and the family will be sent out of Japan quickly... it's a shame.

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That's one guaranteed way to make sure the teen stays out of trouble in Japan... as soon as the trial is over, ship him back to the States. There's no possibility of him screwing up again in Japan if he isn't IN Japan.

I have to agree that as an 18 year old (when he did this), this guy is an adult. I realize this guy was the son of a soldier, but he was old enough to enlist in the military himself. If you're old enough to defend your country, you're old enough to be an adult. (And don't get me STARTED on why the U.S. military is footing the bill for an adult child living with the parents)

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This is actually a good ruling. No, not the sentence, its absurdly light. However what makes it a good ruling, is that it is about the same sentence a Japanese person would have gotten for the same crime. Maybe the court took into account the gomen money, maybe they took into account the age, but being roughly the same sentence a Japanese person would have gotten, is good, despite it being a ridiculous sentence.

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This young lady fractured her skull. She was not wearing a helmet? Does Japan have a helmet law for motorcycle? If she had a helmet on, maybe the injuries might not have been severe.

WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING?

If you tie a rope across the street at night, what do you expect to happen? Nothing?

So if she was wearing a helmet it's "all ok?"

Talk about putting spin into the story.

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1 - The best thing that could happen to this kid is to "attend" a Japanese prison for two years, per the sentence. He clearly needs the education. Have all of you read about the lifestyle in a Japanese prison? If you live in Japan, you should know what you are potentially facing. Especially if you drive a car or motorcycle in Japan. For example, you can serve hard time for hitting a scooter rider that cuts in front of you, even when there is not possible way to avoid hitting him or her.

2 - The references to Japan attacking Pearl Harbor are interesting. I presume that everyone has finally learned that in the late 1930's the U.S. Government created and implemented a strategy plan to INDUCE Japan to attack Pearl Harbor. An eight point plan was created to force Japan's hand. Most people are aware of point #1: Cut off Japan's oil. The attack on Peearl was not only known about in advance, it was engineered on the U.S. side. Large historical events are not left to chance. They are all engineered.

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What a pathetic little coward this boy - and his grubby, military brat friends - all are. I'd imagine all of them are from the lowest class imaginable. Way, way lower than trailer trash. Good riddance and NEVER even THINK of setting foot in Japan again.

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...and another thing. Why are all these US Military brats in Japan? How are they "protecting" Japan? That is their parents job. These kids have no business here - quite a few obviously get up to no good. Go and play these pranks in the States and see how long you'd last...

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The kid shouldn't be left on island. His overseas screening should have been revoked, as should his father's.

When in Japan, you are an ambassador for your country. If you or your children cannot act accordingly, you need to be removed.

Taka

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...and another thing. Why are all these US Military brats in Japan? How are they "protecting" Japan? That is their parents job. These kids have no business here - quite a few obviously get up to no good. Go and play these pranks in the States and see how long you'd last...

If the serviceperson is going to be stationed there for a tour of duty, the family typically moves with them unless the tour is in a hostile zone. "Family" includes spouse AND the kids.

The kid shouldn't be left on island. His overseas screening should have been revoked, as should his father's. When in Japan, you are an ambassador for your country. If you or your children cannot act accordingly, you need to be removed.

I'm sure that's already been taken care of. The other participants have already been sent packing along with their parents. The only reason this one hasn't yet was they had to wait for the results of the trial. Now I'm sure they will be gone shortly as well.

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So if she was wearing a helmet it's "all ok?" Talk about putting spin into the story.

No one was putting a "spin" to the story. They were just wondering how she fractured her skull while wearing a helmet. Not blaming her. He's totally at fault but then again if she were wearing the helmet incorrectly or not a full face then maybe that's why she got a fractured skull with a bit of PPE that is supposed to prevent that.

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Even a full-face helmet cannot fully prevent a fracturing of the skull.

Too much depends on actual helmet design and quality.

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If we're lucky the father is doling out an even better punishment on his son if he's a proper military man that takes a no-nonsense approach, unless for some crazy reason the father is a softie. Seriously I wish there was some way the perps could be charged with US laws.

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If we're lucky the father is doling out an even better punishment on his son if he's a proper military man that takes a no-nonsense approach, unless for some crazy reason the father is a softie. Seriously I wish there was some way the perps could be charged with US laws.

His MOTHER is an active-duty military service woman.. I bet the mom AND THE SON will be shipped back to the states as soon as possible, and that'd be the end of story.. sad.

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Fractured skull ???? This Air Force Officerand the AIR FORCE should pay her medical bills, the motor scooter, and disability pay for the rest of her life.

Her life is totally changed from an idiot boy, who never thought of the consquences. I hope she payed something or the airforce cut her a check !!!!

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Just clarification. US citizens can be tried under US Law if the Japanese relinquish jurisdiction; the sentence in Japan is consistent with the one given to three servicemen who brutally raped a 12 year old girl and got 3, 3, and 7 years. One of them returned to the US and raped a coed and committed suicide. In the '70s service members wives sent their kids out to throw stones at buses just to be evicted from Japan. They wanted to escape the high cost and an extended tour of four years that had been imposed. On a per capita basis, US servicemen and their dependents commit far fewer crimes than the general Japanese public.

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On a per capita basis, US servicemen and their dependents commit far fewer crimes than the general Japanese public

Nobody is saying whether Japanese people commit crimes more or less, that's really not the point.

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"This is actually a good ruling. However what makes it a good ruling, is that it is about the same sentence a Japanese person would have gotten for the same crime."

I agree with Molenir on this. I just with the other 3 teens had to go to court too. It was not fair that only one had to take all the blame when all 4 equally participated. I also think it was right to reduce the charges from attempted murder since I don`t think that was the intentions of the teens. I think the judge summed it up accurately when he stated, "This incident had no purpose or clear motive. It was nothing but troublemaking, dangerous, illegal and vicious.” Finally, I think it is only right that this incident forced the other families to leave Japan.

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Not that it matters for the ruling, but the scooter rider was a part of a large group of noisy bosozoku riders that were going up and down the street that day/night. Most likely none of them were wearing helmets. Again, this doesn't matter and this kid got what he had coming to him for being an idiot.

For those condeming the parents, yes, it is partly their fault, but as a parent, you can not watch your kids actions (especially teenagers) 24/7.

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For those condeming the parents, yes, it is partly their fault, but as a parent, you can not watch your kids actions (especially teenagers) 24/7.

By the time they reach 18 you shouldn't have to be watching them at all, never mind 24/7.

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societymike

Where are you getting your information from? Yomiuri Newspaper says the scooter rider was a 24-year-old female office worker on her way back home. She suffered fractured scull despite wearing a helmet.

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societymike-

the scooter rider was a part of a large group of noisy bosozoku riders that were going up and down the street that day/night. Most likely none of them were wearing helmets

i think you've mixed this incident up with something else.. like eigokun said, this woman was alone riding her scooter on her way back home from work (restaurant), and she had a helmet on..

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^^ I live close to the base and happen to know someone who knows a few of the kids involved. He said they were "screwing with the bosozoku" when it happened. I know.. here-say, but, it is what it is.

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Ya would've been two thumbs up if that was the case. The bosozokus deserves all the death traps in the world.

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actually he should not be kicked out of Japan. he should be forced to remain here until his "suspended" sentence is done. To make sure he lives with the thought of screwing up. as soon as he leaves he is home free.

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"They have since left Japan." 'Scurried away' would've been more accurate.

Friggin' army brats! They should've also been punished in some way. Fortunately for them the girl survived albeit with a fractured skull.

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