Is Mocking A Crime? Ohio Man Sentenced to One Month In Jail For Mocking Disabled Girl

There was a justified outcry recently when a video surfaced (below) of an Ohio man William Bailey making fun of a young girl with cerebral palsy at a bus stop. It is a brief video but enough to enrage a nation. Now, Canton Municipal Judge John A. Poulos ordered the maximum sentence for Bailey, who pleaded no contest to reduced misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and aggravated menacing. I realize how emotionally charged this case has become, but should mocking be treated as a criminal act?

Bailey insisted that he was reacting to name-calling directed at his 9-year-old son, but most people see the video has a direct mocking of the little girl with a pronounced limp.

The Knight family has lived next door to the Baileys for two years and the families had developed serious problems. The case is reminiscent of the Petkov case.

The film below does not show what normally passes for disorderly conduct or menacing. These terms have always been uncomfortably ambiguous for civil libertarians. Here they seem to be simply the most convenient way to vent well-founded anger at Bailey. The charges were reportedly based on the video, though originally the girl’s family said that Bailey threatened to choke the mother with a chain.

If mocking a little girl can be charged as disorderly conduct and menacing, how about mocking other people for political or religious reasons? This man appears a perfect tasteless cad. However, should he be criminally charged?

Source: ABC

186 thoughts on “Is Mocking A Crime? Ohio Man Sentenced to One Month In Jail For Mocking Disabled Girl”

  1. I have a now 7 year old grandson, who has Autism.
    My daughter abruptly moved him out if his home in one day and they lived with this man for a little over two years. During that time the psychological/ emotional abuse in the form of name calling, mocking his uncontrollable tics, throwing away toys as a form of punishment, threats with spankings some with a belt, taking him to a shooting range causing him to wet his pants then mocking that. The abuse became so bad that my grandson now has PTSD, anxiety disorder, panic attacks, depression, sleep disturbance disorder, behavioral problems and I can’t remember the rest ADDED to his Autism. This 6 year old boy begged his mother to get him out of the house, he made video recordings in my phone, he write her letters, be threatened to run away, all to no avail, she betrayed him just as badly as this man abused him, on his visit with me over the Christmas vacation he had with him a run away note and was never going to go back to that house. He told me frankly, and seriously that his head was going to explode and he couldn’t handle anymore, I’d rather be in Heaven, he was 6 then. I have permanent custody of him now but he has nightmares, and a host if other psychological problems. None of us can say that only mocking the way one walks, talks or behaves because of a disability is just plain stupid but not criminal. How do you know that they haven’t been subjected to so much “it’s no big deal” mocking that the next instance won’t cause them to see life worth not living anymore. You don’t know, your not stepping in, or just passing it off as not criminal just kid stuff could very well cost them their life. My grandson is 7…he’s on suicide watch. I got no help for him during those two and a half years because it was all “harmless fun”. He’s not living a fun life right now. Next time try getting up and stepping up instead of blogging.
    You never know the life you may have saved. Thank you and please, for those of you who do please pray for my grandson.
    He’s too young to die, his eyes look emotionless except when graphically describing how he wants to kill this man.
    He last comment in his journal ( I am supposed to them, I’m not invading his privacy) was that he can never be happy again until “…”is dead! Please do not pass my grandsons abuse off as not being criminal. I live in Ohio and I plan to pursue every avenue I can until this “B…..” is in jail.

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