Saturday, January 20, 2018
News Roundup

Attacker in Pasco school bus beating sentenced to probation

NEW PORT RICHEY — Chase Cristia left the courtroom Thursday while the video played. It showed hard, angry punches raining down on her in the back of a school bus. "That's what you get for talking s---, b----!" the attacker yelled as the beating finally stopped.

It happened Feb. 1 after Chase and the other girl got into an argument in the cafeteria at Mitchell High School. The attacker, and another girl who filmed the beating and posted the video to Facebook, were both charged.

On Thursday, the attacker pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor battery charge and was sentenced in juvenile court.

Chase, 16, wrote a statement about what the incident has done to her life, but she was too shy to read it aloud. The prosecutor read it for her.

"With the love and support from my family and friends I will overcome," she wrote, "but I believe these girls should be held accountable for their poor decisions. Not only did they plan and execute this attack on me, but they were proud of what they did and bragged about it. I believe they should be punished and made to learn a lesson from this."

Circuit Judge Shawn Crane watched the video and called the girl's conduct "outrageous."

"What do you think when you watch that?" he asked the attacker, who is not being named because of her age.

"I can't look at it," she replied, and started to cry.

He said the girl in the video was out of control. He told her to think about how the victim felt.

"There's no excuse for it. Absolutely no excuse," the judge said. "There is no provocation for that to occur on a school bus, in our community. It's supposed to be safe. We put our children on buses so they can travel safely to school. They shouldn't be attacked, right?"

"Yes, sir," the attacker said.

Crane sentenced the girl to 270 days of probation, with conditions. She was told to keep a curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., write a letter of apology to both Cristia and her own mother, and complete mental and substance abuse evaluations. She must have random urine tests and not use social media.

She also was ordered to pay restitution to Cristia, mainly for medical expenses, at a tentative amount of $40 a month, for a total of more than $2,000.

"She acknowledges her conduct," public defender Phil Cohen said. "She's not proud of it."

According to Cristia's mother, the girl who filmed the incident has a trial set for September.

The Cristia family said they were pleased with the outcome.

"I was so impressed with the way the judge handled that," mother Tracy said. "I hope (the attacker) learned a lesson."

"It's one for the good guys," Chase's father Victor said.

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