Who Are We Raising?

Here’s the news, from Kare 11:

A mentally disabled man from Lakeville is recovering after being severely beaten last weekend. According to the victim’s mother, Carolyn Hamilton, the 24-year-old victim is terrified and scarred emotionally and physically. Justin Hamilton cannot see color in one of his eyes as a result of the injuries he suffered. “He’s thinking someone is going to find where he is and come and beat him up and take him,” said Hamilton. The victim also has bruises, two broken ribs and a branding from a heated credit card. Hamilton says he was also dragged by a motorcycle — although police have not yet included that detail in their reports. “You can see he’s been burned, cut, dragged… it’s a burn mark from being dragged,” said Hamilton. Hamilton also told KARE 11 that the victim, who is adopted, suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome. “They’ve taken someone that trusted everybody, with a big smile on his face, the whole world can be your friend, to ‘something really bad happened, mom,'” said Hamiton. Four men were charged Tuesday with luring the victim to a secluded area and severely beating him on two occasions last weekend. On Wednesday, prosecutors charged them again with more serious crimes. Glen Richard Ries, 33, Jonathon Michael Diepold, 21, John Maxwell Maniglia, 19, and Timothy John Ketterling, 21, were each charged with assault and false imprisonment. Diepold, Maniglia and Ries now also face kidnapping charges. Prosecutors have also charged 16-year-old Natasha Dahn in connection with the beating. According to court documents, Dahn told the other suspects Hamilton had assaulted her. Prosecutors say her allegation — was a lie. Ries, Diepold and Maniglia are from Northfield; Ketterling is from Prior Lake. According to court documents, the four men lured the victim from his Lakeville home on Friday and drove him to a secluded area in Waterford Township in southern Dakota County where they kicked him and struck him with tree branches. They then drove him back to his home but forced him to give them his Xbox video games, authorities said. Everyone but Ries has been charged with theft. Then on Saturday, the suspects allegedly lured the victim from Northfield to the same location. According to court documents, the suspets tied the victim to a tree, severely beat him again and burned his skin with lighters and a heated credit card. “There’s bruising all over his body, burn marks. His face has been pummeled,” said Chief Deputy David Bellows of the Dakota County Sheriff’s office, after reviewing photos of the victim. “It’s just incomprehensible to think that you can do this to someone who is challenged to begin with.” Hamilton’s family have issued a statement thanking the public. “We wish to express our gratitude for all of the cards, letters, emails and well wishes for Justin’s recovery. It has been a shock to think that anyone could harm another human being, one so trusting and innocent as our son and brother Justin. We hope you can understand our need to allow him to heal in private and in his own way, process what has happened to regain his self-sufficiency.” A trust fund has been set up for Hamilton to help in his recovery. Wells Fargo Bank For the benefit of Justin Charles Hamilton 16817 Duluth Avenue SE Prior Lake, MN 55372.

I am seriously hoping the four involved in the actual violent acts get a good deal of the rest of their lives in prison. This is simply attacking someone because they are different from you. I’ve known a good deal of developmentally disabled adults and kids over the years, as both of my parents worked in direct care and clerical positions for companies that provide housing, care, and work for these people. I know how good natured and sweet they can be. These young men took advantage of Hamilton’s good and trusting nature to drag him out to the middle of nowhere and beat him severely, scar and burn him. I am disgusted to think that they come from my home state. I hope that the courts consider the nature of this crime, the vulnerability of Hamilton, and the sort of mental disturbance this indicates in these men and throw the book at them. Give them the maximum sentence and do not be lenient.