Credit: Brett Buffington (@BrettWSAV) via Twitter
Misdemeanors filed in case of severely intoxicated teen
Authorities in coastal Georgia filed misdemeanor charges Monday against two adults and two juveniles in the case of a teenager who ended up hospitalized after blacking out from severe intoxication.
The charges were announced by the police chief and district attorney for Glynn County during a news conference largely devoted to debunking misinformation that had spread on social media.
The 19-year-old patient was treated for several days at a hospital in Brunswick, about 70 miles (112 kilometers) south of Savannah after friends dropped him off March 21 unconscious and soaked in urine. Medical staff told police he had a large amount of alcohol and antidepressants in his system.
A photo of the teenager passed out in a chair and surrounded by other teens and a video of him apparently unconscious and being sprayed with a garden hose circulated on social media, prompting an outcry that he had been bullied and abused. Police launched an investigation.
Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Keith Higgins said Monday that investigators determined the teenager had "voluntarily drank alcohol until he blacked out. No one forced alcohol down his throat or forced him to drink."
Higgins said there was no evidence the youth had been beaten or tortured. He added that the teens who took him to the hospital may have saved his life.
Police filed misdemeanor charges of maintaining a disorderly house and contributing to the delinquency of a minor against the couple who own the home where the teenagers had been drinking. Two teens were charged with misdemeanors in juvenile court — one for simple battery and criminal trespassing, the other for possession of drug-related objects.
It was not immediately known if any of the people charged had attorneys who could speak for them.
Higgins said the uproar over the case and the misinformation spread online meant that police and prosecutors had "diverted a lot of resources" from other investigations involving more serious crimes.