A father who was filmed along with his son mocking his 10-year-old neighbor with cerebral palsy every day has been sentenced to one month in jail. William Bailey, 43, was caught on camera by the girl’s grandmother, who videotaped the father-son duo slowly hobbling to the school bus, limping with bent legs, in front of Hope Holcomb and her classmates.
Bailey plead no contest to reduced misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and aggravated menacing. The Canton, Ohio judge gave the grown man the maximum sentence for the charges.
Every day after school at the bus stop, Bailey and his nine-year-old son Joseph would mock the disabled girl even though she would repeatedly ask them to stop.
‘Stop, please, try to be nice,’ Hope has asked them, weeping.
They claim that their actions were motivated by a long-standing feud between their family and Holly’s family, the Knights.
‘It started last year we had trouble on the bus, she was miserable she didn’t want to ride the bus, cried every morning,’ said Tricia Knight, Hope’s mother, to Fox.
‘He treats her like crap, and most recently the dad got involved.’
The Baileys, who have five children, live next door to the Knights.
Maryann Abel, the assistant court administrator for Stark County Family Court, told MailOnline that the Joseph will not face any charges because of his young age.
‘(Prosecutors) thought he was acting under the influence of his father,’ she said.
They say the bullying has grown more intense and hurtful in the past few months and they had to raise the alarm.
‘It makes me sick too, to think that a grown man would tease a 10-year-old disabled girl that has never done a thing to any of them for no reason, and now she doesn’t want to get on the bus to go to school,’ Mike Knight said to the station.
‘We just want the bullying and the ridiculous behavior from the kids and the adults to stop.’
The family has created red t-shirts that read ‘STOP the bullying’ to band together against the abuse.
Mr Bailey said that the Knights have repeatedly mocked his son, who suffers from seizures and ADHD.
‘I love that little girl. I never even meant that or anything at all toward little Hope. I don’t make fun of anybody with a disability,’ he said to the Canton Rep.
‘I wasn’t making fun of anyone. They just kept calling my little boy (names) and I reacted badly. You have to defend your son, your children …’
Explaining the video, he said that he was retaliating for the Knights calling his son a ‘retard.’ He claims they were present during the taping and were hurling insults at Joseph.
‘They were down at the bus stop yelling “retard” and I told my son, “If they want to call us ‘retard,’ we’ll show them a ‘retard.'” And we walked to the car from the bus like that. I did that with my son,’ he said.
His wife Vickie Bailey defended his actions.
‘He did get out of the car, you’ve seen the video I am sure, my kid was walking like, but no offense to Hope so why they are taking it that way, I have no idea,’ Mrs Bailey said.
She insisted this was not a case of a grown man bullying a defenseless girl, claiming instead that the two families have a long standing rivalry.
Both families have filed complaints with the prosecutors office, Fox reports, but no charges have been filed.
‘We are aware that there are neighbor problems between the families … name-calling, loud music and other violations,’ said Sgt. Terry Curry.
‘We will address any violation of the Ohio law, any incident that may occur.’
Neighbors say they are fed up with the feud between the two clans.
‘Their daughters play together and ride bikes together, their sons ride bikes together, the (Knight) kids swim in the (Bailey) kids’ pool with them,’ Ray Burdette, who lives about 500 feet away, told the Canton Rep.
‘Two weeks ago, they were down playing basketball and riding bikes together and now this.’
Mrs Knight and Mrs Baily agreed that the families have been close, perhaps too close for comfort, since the Knights moved in two years ago.
‘Kids don’t always get along. I would be a liar if I told you my kids weren’t brats, too,’ Mrs Knight told the newspaper.
Mrs Bailey claims she was heart-broken over the fighting.
‘I love those guys. I still do,’ she said. ‘But this needs to stop.’