Action 19 News
William Bailey must serve time behind bars after a judge found him guilty of a misdemeanor menacing charge and disorderly conduct related to mocking 10-year-old Hope Holcomb.
An eastern Ohio dad accused of mocking a 10-year-old neighbor girl with cerebral palsy must serve 29 days in jail and pay a fine in connection to the disgraceful display, a judge has ordered.
The actions of William Bailey, 43, of Pike Township, were caught on video by the girl’s family, sparking widespread outrage over the perceived bullying. He pleaded no contest Tuesday to downgraded offenses from the original fourth-degree disorderly conduct and first-degree aggravated menacing charges filed last month, according to The Repository.
The menacing charge is related to an incident in which the girl’s mother claims Bailey threatened to choke the mother with a chain, the newspaper said.
A municipal court judge found him guilty, and Bailey must report to the Stark County Jail in January and pay $400 in court costs and fines.
Hope Holcomb’s mother, Tricia Knight, says, ‘I couldn’t believe it,’ when she saw William Bailey and his son walk with a limp, apparently making fun of her daughter who was cerebral palsy.
Bailey reportedly apologized in a statement to next-door neighbors Michael and Tricia Knight, the parents of Hope Holcomb: “To Hope and her family, please accept my apology for my inappropriate behavior. I know that my actions were immature and lacked the respect you deserve. I didn’t realize the impact this incident would have upon both of our families and I truly regret it.”
Bailey initially denied the accusations made by the Knights, claiming that they had taunted his son, 9-year-old Joseph, who suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and seizures, he said.
Stark County Sheriff’s deputies had been to both families’ homes to investigate, and have also responded to other name-calling and loud music complaints, according to The Repository.
William Bailey and his son, Joseph, were caught on tape imitating a girl with cerebral palsy who uses crutches.
Tricia Knight told the Daily News last month that she was shocked to see Bailey and his son walk with a pronounced limp while her daughter, who uses crutches, waited at a bus stop.
“I couldn’t believe it. I’m saying to him, ‘Are you serious? My daughter is seeing you,’” Knight said.
Jennifer Fitzsimmons, an assistant city prosecutor who handled the case against Bailey, told The Repository Tuesday that a spotlight has been put on the problem of bullying.
“It’s unfortunate it had to be at the expense of a family and a little girl who has it rough as it is,” she said.
And according to the Knights, there’s still tension between the neighboring families.
“This didn’t stop him,” Michael Knight told The Repository. “We do live next to him and it’s ongoing.”
Bailey declined to comment after the hearing.