Police: Assault on teen may have stemmed from bullying - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Police: Assault on teen may have stemmed from bullying

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Jean Gaboriau Jean Gaboriau
RUTLAND, Vt. -

"I was nervous because I didn't know what was going to happen next, and I was scared that he would be let out today, but it felt more of a big relief," Misti Baker said.

Baker says it has been weeks since her son was assaulted on Seabury Street, but finally they can breathe a little easier knowing his alleged attacker was arrested.

Thursday in Rutland District Court, Jean Gaboriau, 46, pleaded not guilty to simple assault. But the Bakers say they had hoped for different charges.

"We were informed that he was only being charged with a simple assault, which blows my mind. You spit on somebody and that's simple assault," Baker said.

Police say the incident started at the Rutland Intermediate Playground. Newly released court papers state that the 14-year-old victim may have had victims of his own.

"This was an act of kids being kids, but not in a nice way. It was a bullying incident that happened," Rutland City Police Sgt. James Tarbell said.

Tarbell says the boy and his friend were picking on two 10-year-old boys on the playground. Security footage from the roof of the school shows the older youths pushing the younger boys around.

"One of the kids that was being bullied contacted a father and the father came up to be a parent for the child. And when he spotted the two older youths that were tormenting his child, he chased them, he went after them," Tarbell said.

Police say Gaboriau chased the two boys into an abandoned home on Seabury Street. Court papers state the man punched the teen several times. Police say the attack may have been triggered by Gaboriau's past.

"What he informed us was that when he was growing up, he was picked on as a child and was abused. And when this happened to his child, it just-- he reacted," Tarbell said.

As for Baker, she says nothing justifies what happened to her son. She says he is not a troublemaker or a bully. And even if he was, no child deserves to be beaten by an adult.

"Regardless, as a parent you go to the parents, you address it to the parents. You don't take matters into your own hands, let alone lay your hands on a child," Baker said. "No matter what happened there at that playground that day, it does not justify his actions."

Police now say there was no robbery; Gaboriau admitted he took the boy's phone, but dropped it as he ran away. He told police he only did that so the boy couldn't call police. He is being charged with interfering with access to emergency services.

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