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Young man working to repay community and crime victim
By CHRIS COLLINS
Of the Baker City Herald
If he had it to do over again, 16-year-old Richard Scott says he would have made some different choices earlier this year.
But with 20-20 hindsight, he is spending the summer helping clean up the Boys Jungle instead of taking a summer trip.
"I was planning on going to Vegas, but I beat up that kid, so now I can't," he says of his summer plans that were derailed by his parents' disapproval of his actions and by the juvenile court system.
Scott was ordered to perform 45 hours of community service work for a third-degree assault conviction.
Through a Baker County Juvenile Department program, he is earning $6.50 an hour to pay $180 in restitution to his victim. The money will go to help pay the bill for a broken nose and 27 stitches the victim required after Scott and another boy punched the victim in the face.
Scott said he and his friend went after the other boy because he allegedly had caused trouble for Scott's former girlfriend. The two boys learned that their adversary was attending a girls basketball tournament at Baker High School, so they met him there.
They assaulted the boy in the BHS Commons between games, according to Chris Black, Baker County Juvenile Department director.
"Each took one shot at him, but they were pretty good shots," he said.
Scott has several regrets about the fight. He regrets that it happened in such a public place.
"There were 300 witnesses," he said. "Everybody saw it."
But he especially regrets the consequences he must face for a rash act that wasn't appreciated by the girl he did it for in the first place.
"I don't think I should have done it," he said. "Me and that chick don't get along that well anymore. I did it for nothing."
In addition to his lost summer plans and the expense he must work to repay, Scott suffered other personal consequences. He and his friend both were expelled from BHS because of the fight and finished out the school year attending different sessions at the Baker Alternative School. He hopes to return to BHS where he will be a junior next fall.
He and his friend will not be hanging out together because that is prohibited as a condition of their probation. They also are not allowed to spend time with a third friend who became involved in the dispute after he harassed their victim.
Scott's sentence included four months of house arrest and two years probation. He will be required to undergo a mental health evaluation and to complete any recommended treatment to help him deal with anger and other personal issues, Black said. He also was ordered to pay about $500 in court fines and fees.
Scott received a suspended commitment to the Oregon Youth Authority, which could be imposed if he gets into trouble again, Black said. That would mean sentencing to a juvenile correctional center outside the community.
In the meantime, Scott is joining others who are directing their energy to a positive project for the community by helping clean up the Boys Jungle. He also helped complete a "Welcome to Baker City" sign with the work crew.
"It's pretty cool making new things," he said of the summer work projects. "It's pretty cool to do it since I'm not in school."
He is enthusiastic about helping clear the brush from the Boys Jungle and loading it on a truck to be hauled out of the area.
Scott said he might continue helping with the project even after his restitution bill is paid and his community service requirement has been met.
"It'll help other people," he said of the cleanup project. "My family thinks it's a pretty cool idea."