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'Ginger attacks' youths may face charges or get a diversion program

The cases of three accused in the Calabasas school incidents go to a prosecutor. But they and others could enter a program that deals with first-time juvenile offenders in an out-of-court setting.

December 09, 2009|By Richard Winton

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office is debating whether to file criminal charges against three Calabasas youths arrested in connection with recent attacks on redheaded students at a middle school.

Sheriff's investigators booked two 12-year-old boys on charges of battery on school property and a 13-year-old boy on charges of cyber-bullying: sending a threat via electronic communication. The case was presented to a juvenile-case prosecutor Monday.

The attacks were apparently spurred by a Facebook site and inspired by an episode of the animated "South Park" television show titled "Ginger Kids."

Steve Whitmore, a Sheriff's Department spokesman, said some of those accused in the assaults at A.E. Wright Middle School could be put in a diversion program rather than face a formal criminal complaint.

The students could be placed in the district attorney's Juvenile Offender Intervention Network, which deals with nonviolent, first-time juvenile offenders in an out-of-court setting.

The juveniles and their parents agree to the terms of a contract acknowledging responsibility for their acts, and they pledge to pay restitution, good school attendance and perform community service.

Parents also agree to attend parenting classes, and all families are referred to group counseling, with their cases monitored for a year.

School officials have identified nine children believed to be responsible for the assaults. Eleven victims have come forward. All the injuries were minor, officials said.

richard.winton@latimes.com

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