Seventeen-year-old Lauren A. Bush, the older of two girls who were found guilty of torturing and sexually assaulting an autistic boy, will now be tried as a juvenile instead of an adult.
Although the judge was outraged by the torment that was recorded on a cellphone, he did not feel this type of criminal activity should require Lauren to do time in a women’s prison.
Judge David Densford stated, “The conduct on the DVDs, and her statements to the police are outrageous. There is a lack of empathy . . . a dramatic lack of empathy. You look at them and say, ‘Why would any human being treat another person like this?’”
Bush and her accomplice, whose name is withheld, recorded a series of sadistic acts inflicted upon a sixteen-year-old boy with autism between December 2013 and March 2014.
Some of these acts included pointing a knife to the victim’s throat, making him walk across a frozen pond and not helping him when he fell in multiple times, kicking him in the groin, forcing him to masturbate and then have sex with a family dog and trying to run him over with a car.
At the hearing on Thursday, the judge read some of the statements given to the police after she was caught including, “We should have erased the videos,” and “We were stupid. We’ll be smarter after this, or locked behind bars.” After authorities arrived at her home to arrest her, she told them: “I have a project tomorrow. I can’t go to jail.”
The victim does not appear to be traumatized because he does not want the girls to be punished and felt like they were his friends. He also thought Lauren to be his “girlfriend.” Although some may be confused by his response, it is not uncommon for a victim to side with their abuser and the fact that he is autistic plays a part in his lack of understanding the intentional cruelty inflicted on him.
Autistic people lack intuition about others and the ability to relate and understand others. Many people with autism have unusual sensory perceptions like feeling a light touch as painful, deep pressure as calming or may not feel pain at all. An autistic person may not understand that what they are doing is wrong especially when encouraged by peers.
There is a chance he did not feel the typical physical pain a non-autistic person would feel and he was unable to feel emotionally affected by what happened to him.
Another issue may be that he developed Stockholm syndrome. Some clear indicators of this is that he had positive feelings about his tormentor, he is upset that his family is pursuing punishment and he supports the reasons and behaviors of his abuser.
Either way it is apparent that what Lauren Bush did was wrong even if her victim does not have the capacity to understand that. It is very likely Lauren may suffer from Sadistic Personality Disorder.
Some signs that support this theory are that she used physical cruelty or violence for establishing dominance in the relationship and she had no remorse for her actions. If she did feel remorse for her actions, it is unlikely she would have continued the torture for four months.
Lauren’s mother explains that her daughter never intended to seriously harm the boy and did should not have been charged as an adult or go through the online attacks she endured. Her mother said, “She hugs me and says, ‘I am sorry.’ ” Also, when she asks Lauren about what happened, she cries.
Just because someone says he or she is sorry does not mean it is true. Lauren has shown that she is very capable of manipulation therefore; it is hard to believe she is actually sorry for what she has done. She may be sorry for being caught but if she were sorry for her actions, she would not have continued them for as long as she did.
Bush has been receiving treatment at a juvenile rehabilitation facility and found to present a low to moderate risk to herself and others. She is set for sentencing next week.
It would be unfortunate once she is reintroduced to society after doing time if she finds another victim and is more careful not to be caught. For the best interest of society, she should continually be monitored by mental health professionals so another innocent person will not have to endure what her first victim did.