COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A bill that would require prison time for many felony crimes against the disabled or elderly was inspired by a fake ice bucket challenge that led to charges against five teenagers, a state lawmaker said.
The boys were charged with dumping a bucket of urine, water and tobacco spit on an autistic 15-year-old boy who thought he was participating in a challenge for charity.
Cleveland Democratic Rep. Bill Patmon told The Northeast Ohio Media Group the arrest of those Bay Village students prompted the legislation he introduced Tuesday. It would require at least two years in prison or juvenile custody for certain felonies against the elderly or the disabled, plus any other punishment imposed by the court.
Patmon, 68, who has a grandson with autism, said those who commit crimes against the disabled or senior citizens should get more than a light punishment.
"There shouldn't be anything that you do to a senior or a handicapped person that there shouldn't be some kind of guarantee that you're not going to spend some time in jail for that - no slap on the wrist for that," Patmon said.
Felonies including theft, identity fraud and assault by a caretaker would be exempted under the bill.
Each of the five teens involved in the fake ice bucket challenge was charged in juvenile court with disorderly conduct. Three were also charged with delinquency and assault.
The bill's chances of passing the busy, Republican-dominated Legislature in the remaining weeks of the current session are unclear. Republican Rep. John Becker from Union Township is co-sponsoring the bill.