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Teen says prosecutor holding up Navy enlistment; prosecutor disagrees

JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — A Johnson County teenager says his life is being put on hold after he was arrested for underage drinking.

The arrest happened last April and now he says he can’t go into the Navy.

Brandon Hardcastle, 18, says he’ll be the first one in his family to go to college.

He’ll also be the first to join the military since World War II.

But he first has to clear up a matter with the Johnson County prosecutor’s office

“I originally wanted to join a technical position in the Navy so I knew that wanted to do something math (or) science based if I could,” said Hardcastle

But he can’t until an underage drinking case is resolved.

“It’s obvious that I made a mistake, I did break the law and the police officers did what they should,” he said.

Hardcastle was one of seven teenagers arrested at a house party last April. But he says the Johnson County’s Prosecutors office is singling him out .

“It’s really unfair treatment especially for my first contact with the police. And it’s absolutely crushed my ambitions of joining this early and getting higher education the military and getting the college tuition that I really need,” he said

Recruits can’t enlist in the military until outstanding cases are resolved. So Hardcastle says he reached out to the prosecutor’s office.

“No matter what I do to try to fix what I’ve done wrong, I’m powerless right now,” he said.

But prosecutor Brad Cooper says Hardcastle has all the power.

“I have never received a phone call from Mr. Hardcastle,” said Cooper. If I had, we would’ve probably set him up with a community service morning at our local animal shelter.”

Cooper says its his office’s policy to sentence these types of offenders to community service.

“We would have basically dismissed his case and expunged it from his record,” said Cooper.

That would require Hardcasyle to admit guilt.

“I wouldn’t do that again obviously because its had such a huge impact on my life which I had no idea it was going to have this big of an impact and cause this much damage to my near future,” said Hardcastle.