CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) - The first victim to come forward in the Carmel basketball bullying case suffered from "an effort to manipulate the case. These actions deny he was a victim at all," Attorney Robert Turner told a group of reporters Wednesday.
"This case as far as I'm concerned is an outrage," Turner said.
The news conference was held as Turner, the boy's parents, and the victim respond to a plea agreement that suspect Scott Laskowski accepted. Their issue lies in the fact that the investigation had identified three victims in the case, each prompting its own charge. Laskowski pleaded guilty to only one charge and the others were dropped.
"How can you have three victims and only one charge?" the victim's mother asked.
Turner also said he sent a letter to the US Attorney's office asking for an investigation into the prosecutors and into whether the defense attorneys manipulated witnesses in the case.
"I think that (Sonia Leerkamp) has formulated an opinion in this case and she can not be objective in what she is doing…. Maybe she should have appointed a prosecutor in this case," the attorney added.
The victim in the case also spoke publicly for the first time, describing why he decided to speak out and how the bullying has changed his life.
"Personally, I feel like when adults tell kids to speak up. When we do finally speak up that it is ignored or not taken seriously," the teen said, "When someone does something wrong they shouldn't be able to slide by because they are special."
"It's changed my life," the teen said, "Just walking outside. I don't smile as much as I used to. I don't laugh as much as I used to."
"I'm sure I would not make something like this. I would not want to be here. This is a very serious situation."
The victim also encouraged others being victimized by bullying to "speak up… There will always be someone who is listening. You can start with your parents or a neighbor."
When asked if Laskowski said what he wanted to hear, the victim told reporters, "I never really got an apology or a serious apology. "
The attorney for one of the victims in the Carmel High School bullying and assault case is calling a plea agreement in the case a "manipulation" by the Hamilton County prosecutor.
Attorney Robert Turner made the statement to the I-Team on Thursday. The new controversy comes a week after former senior basketball player Scott Laskowski pleaded guilty. Turner told I-Team 8 on Monday that has not given the family of one of the victims any comfort.
Turner tells I-Team 8 the deal is not what the family expected and that prosecutor Sonia Leerkamp refused to give details on the plea to the teenage victim. Laskowski faced three charges but the charge for the freshman victim on the bus was dropped. Laskowski pleaded guilty to one count of criminal recklessness. The family didn't expect it to be dropped, especially when their son was still asked to read an impact statement in court.
Meanwhile, Turner told I-Team 8, "I have no doubt they have modified the bus video and erased or cut some of the video to protect who they want to protect."
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