Joshua Hickson, 19, appears by any measure to be an idiot. When he found out that a student at Wenatchee High School was severely allergic to peanuts, he repeatedly smeared a peanut butter sandwich on the student’s forehead. However, some people are objecting that he is now charged with criminal assault despite the lack of any injury or allergic reaction. He faces a year in jail if convicted of the misdemeanor. It could be a new addition to our criminal lexicon: Assault and Battery (A & B) with P & J.
There have been other criminal cases involving intentional exposures of people with peanut allergies.
An eighth-grader in Kentucky was charged with felony assault in April and in July a woman in Ohio was charged with assault for throwing peanuts at a man she knew was allergic to them. Recently, a woman sued American Airlines over such exposure.
While I generally do not agree with the increasing criminalization of school misconduct cases, I happen to agree with the Washington charge given the defendant’s age and the circumstances of this case. Hickson was repeatedly warned not to expose the student and could have killed him if he went into anaphylactic shock. A misdemeanor is just about right. He can also be properly sued in tort for assault and battery as well as the intentional infliction of emotional distress.
For a copy of the complaint, click here.
For the full story, click here.