Teen gets probation for fliers
Carolyn Starks, Chicago Tribune
10:08 PM CDT, August 15, 2007
One of two teenage girls who distributed anti-gay fliers outside a Crystal Lake high school was sentenced Wednesday to a year of probation and ordered to write a letter of apology.
The girl, now 17, also was sentenced to 14 days in the McHenry County Jail, but Circuit Judge Michael Chmiel suspended the sentence as long as she abides by the rules of her probation.
The teen pleaded guilty in June to misdemeanor disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges under a deal with prosecutors who dropped a felony hate-crime charge.
She and a friend, then 16 and both students at Crystal Lake South High School, were arrested May 11 after they had distributed about 40 fliers in the student parking lot at the school. The fliers had a photograph of two males kissing and included inflammatory words. One of the males who was identified in the photo was a classmate.
The girls and their lawyers have characterized the incident as a prank, but Chmiel said he was troubled because the girls made more copies when they ran out of fliers.
"You splattered him and the way you described him across this whole parking lot," Chmiel told the girl. "You took the law in your own hands."
The girl said she was angry because one of the boys, who had been a good friend, was calling her names and threatening her.
"I'm very sorry," the teen said in court. "It was basically a joke. We took it too far."
Speaking about the classmate, she said, "I'm sorry for what I did to him emotionally."
Charles McKenney, the girl's lawyer, had sought court supervision and told the judge that the girl has been following the rules of her home detention since her arrest.
Robert Windon, an assistant state's attorney, asked the judge for a 30-day suspended sentence and probation, citing the girl's 11 previous contacts with police and her alcohol and marijuana use.
The other girl, who also pleaded guilty to charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest under a similar deal, is expected to be sentenced next month.