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With many people questioning the teenager's sentence, WZZM 13 took the concerns to the Ottawa County Court Administrator. | News

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With many people questioning the teenager's sentence, WZZM 13 took the concerns to the Ottawa County Court Administrator.
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COOPERSVILLE, Mich. (WZZM) -- WZZM 13 taking a closer look at how Coopersville boy was punished, after he pleaded guilty to being an accomplice to swatting. The 14-year-old was ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution and now has a felony on his record.

The punishment provoked some strong reaction on the WZZM 13 Facebook page. Most people commenting agreed with Melissa, who says "The boy admitted his sin and called police. He should be punished but a $10,000 fine and felony charges? Just ridiculous."

However a few people, like Chris, point out that "This isn't a 'mistake' that anyone should take lightly. This could have had serious ramifications."

With many people questioning the teenager's sentence, WZZM 13 took the concerns to the Ottawa County Court Administrator.

It's not like a trip to the principal's office. In juvenile court, a 14 year old boy learned his punishment, after being charged as an accomplice to a so called, 'swatting' incident.

"They're very serious, two felony level offenses," says Kevin Bowling, Ottawa County Court Administrator.

Jail and prison were off the table because he was not charged as an adult. For that reason, WZZM 13 is not identifying him. However, the teen was sentenced to 7 days in juvenile detention, ordered to do community service, and his family was hit with a hefty fine of about $10,000. Some WZZM13 Facebook fans questioned whether the punishment was too much.

WZZM 13's Alex Shabad asked Bowling if the punishment is what he'd expect from a case like this.

Bowling replied "Yes" and also explained how the decision was reached.

"$2,000 to the public school that was involved and nearly $5,800 to the Ottawa county Sheriff's Department," says Bowling. "There aren't numbers that are just pulled out of thin air, in this particular case there were specific calculations made by law enforcement in terms of what kind of tax payer money had to be invested in the investigation."

Last year, deputies responded to the Coopersville School district after someone called in a fake threat. Investigators say the teen had given information about the school to the caller. However, his mother previously told WZZM 13 that her son was very cooperative with police.

"They (police) came out and my son showed them the whole site and they asked if they could take the computer and we're like, 'Gladly, take it and find the creep'," she said.

Other WZZM 13 followers say the punishment was justified because of the seriousness of the crime. Bowling says the teen underwent a risk evaluation, which included previous court history, mental health issues, and drug or alcohol use.

"They're seemed to be a lower risk of re-offending," Bowling told WZZM 13.

There was one other consequence for the incident, perhaps less obvious to some. The teen's mother told WZZM 13 that their reputation has been damaged and their life ruined.

Bowling says that the teen will also have a felony on his record until he's 30. However, if he stays out of trouble for a while, he may be able to get a judge to set aside his criminal record before then.


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