Archive for Thursday, May 29, 2003

Teen with disabilities touched by show of support after beating

May 29, 2003


People want to help Josh Graves.

Josh, the 15-year-old with cerebral palsy and epilepsy who was beaten by a group of boys last week in a Lawrence park, said he felt "spoiled" by support he received from the community since the Journal-World and 6News ran stories about his ordeal.

First, a neighbor gave him a bicycle. Then, a businessman offered to hire the teen's one-man yardwork business, "JMG Yardworking," through the summer.

Before the attack, Josh had been at the public library making advertising fliers for the business.

The story of the attack conjured memories and anger for many in the city.

"I just remember being 15 years old and being a normal kid and still getting beat up," said Pete Nobo, owner of Taco Casa, 4821 W. Sixth St. Nobo said he wanted to hire Josh for yardwork and was willing to help in other ways, if need be. "I've been feeling very strongly that I need to let him know there's people out there who care."

Others have called and e-mailed the Journal-World to express their sympathy and support for Josh and ask how to help.

Wednesday, police finished reports from the incident and forwarded them to Dist. Atty. Christine Kenney for possible charges.

"All juvenile cases are taken very seriously, and charges will be filed as soon as we have the complete picture," said Deputy Dist. Atty. Shelley Diehl. "We'll do what is right."

Police said the suspects were six boys, five of whom were between 11 and 15, and another of undetermined. Josh's mother, Teri Snell, said she believed four of the boys struck Josh while the two others stood by.

Snell praised the Lawrence Police officer who'd been working on the case.

"He's just so awesome," she said. "He's dropped by my house several times just to inform us of what's going on."

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