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Second teen sentenced in Ellsworth County school bus assault
Court Gavel

ELLSWORTH – The second of the two Great Bend teenaged boys charged in Ellsworth County in connection with the assault of a fellow student on a Great Bend High School school bus in February was sentenced to unsupervised probation Tuesday in Ellsworth County District Court, according to court documents. 

On April 20, both of the GBHS students appeared in Ellsworth County District Court in Ellsworth, each on a single count of battery done in a rude manner. The charges were in connection with an assault on a Great Bend High School school bus carrying the GBHS swim team home from Manhattan Feb. 6.

The 17-year-old sentenced Tuesday appeared in court in person with his parents and represented by Lyons Attorney M. Levi Morris. The victim did not appear, but was represented by Great Bend Attorney Brock McPherson.

At his April 20 arraignment, he entered a not guilty plea. 

Conditions of the probation include:

• The teen will be on unsupervised probation until July 5, 2017. 

• He will pay the docket fee of $56, plus a $45 Sheriff’s Office booking fee, for a total of $101 due to the Ellsworth County District Court.

• Given the existence of the pending lawsuit, the Court declines to order an apology from this Juvenile Offender to the victim.

• Conditions of the unsupervised probation will include no further violations of the laws of the State of Kansas and/or its political subdivisions (excepting mere traffic infractions); timely payment of costs; graduation from high school or the obtaining of a GED; and the requirement that the teen report any police contacts that are not merely social in nature, to the office of the Ellsworth County Attorney within 72 hours. Also, another condition of probation is that he has no purposeful and/or intentional contact with the victim, save for Court appearances.

The other teen entered his no contest plea at conclusion of his arraignment in April. The court accepted it and he was convicted of the class “B” misdemeanor battery. He received the same sentence on June 1 in Ellsworth, except his probation runs through May 31, 2017.

The teen and his mother were present, along with their attorney Lisa Beran of Great Bend. Neither the victim nor McPherson were present for this proceeding.

Under the probation conditions, a pending law suit is mentioned. 

This action was filed in May by a Great Bend woman against Great Bend USD 428, its school board, administrators and others on behalf of her son, who was the student assaulted by fellow swim team members on a school bus in Ellsworth County.

Michelle O’Neil filed the suit May 9 in Ellsworth County District Court, naming her son and herself as plaintiffs.

Defendants named in the suit are: Unified School District 428; the Board of Education; board members Joyce Carter, Charles Umphres, Larry Kutina, Kevin Mauler, Lori Reneau, Cheryl Rugan, Susan Young, in their official capacities; Superintendent Brad Reed; Activities Director David Meter; swim coaches Steve Beaumont and Keith Moeder; GBHS Principal Tim Friess; bus driver Marilyn Holinde; and the parents of four youths who allegedly battered her son on the way home from a swim meet.

The suit states in part:

O’Neil’s son was enrolled as a freshman at GBHS and was on the swim team. On or about Saturday Feb. 6, the team participated in a swim meet in Manhattan. During the return bus trip four juveniles physically attacked the plaintiff in Ellsworth County. They restrained him and attempted to remove his clothing. While continuing to restrain the plaintiff, they attempted to spread his buttocks and insert various objects into his rectum.

The attack caused physical and emotional injury to the plaintiff.

The suit seeks compensation for damages in excess of $75,000 on each of five counts, plus $5,000 in damages per family from the parents listed as defendants. That brings the total requested to more than $395,000, plus punitive compensation.