GRAPHIC: 14-year-old blindsides another teen with baseball bat, sends him to the hospital
GROSSE TETE- A 14-year-old is in a lot of trouble Friday after using an aluminum baseball bat to attack a 15-year-old, leaving him with a concussion and needing staples in his head.
It happened at a birthday party at a home in Grosse Tete on Sunday. The teen accused was charged with aggravated battery, but in a surprise twist, he didn't go to a juvenile detention facility until Friday due to a lack of bed space.
When crimes are committed in parishes without juvenile detention facilities, they rely on other parishes for help. In this instance, there were no beds available across the state of Louisiana, so the teen was released to his parents.
The deputy secretary at the Office of Juvenile Justice (OJJ) told WBRZ this is a big problem on the parish level before a juvenile is convicted. Once convicted, there is enough space statewide to house the juvenile delinquents. However, before a conviction, there are limited facilities that can hold juveniles accused of violent crimes.
Sheriff Stassi said that was not the case on Thursday of this week. That's when the teen's probation was revoked and he said there was no space at OJJ.
"The state is aware of it," Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi said. "The sheriffs are aware of it. We have some sheriffs that have some beds available. But, laws we have, we can't put them in adult facilities."
Stassi said a bed was initially located in Lafayette to house the teen after the incident. However, when the teen arrived in Lafayette, he told staff there he was suicidal. He was driven to the Children's Hospital in Baton Rouge where he told them he was not suicidal. By that time, the bed had been taken in Lafayette.
For four days, the child stayed at home until his probation was revoked for a prior burglary. Friday morning, the teen was brought to a state juvenile facility.
"I don't know what kind of anger would make someone swing at someone's head with all the force they can with an aluminum baseball bat," Sheriff Stassi said. "Could have killed this young man. This was a vicious attack."
With a serious bed shortage for teens before their convictions, OJJ said it is working with local sheriffs about this issue. However, there are no formal plans to address this specific concern at this time. OJJ said funding also remains a big hurdle.