The family of the private residence where a Galion sophomore was assaulted, before being life-flighted to a Columbus hospital last week, are challenging her victim status.
The 16-year-old girl was videotaped fighting two to three girls outside of the home in the 220 block of E. Payne Ave. The assault was cheered on by about a dozen bystanders. The victim reportedly has a torn liver, a torn spleen and cracked ribs.
But Paula Brandt, who lives at the residence where the fight occurred, said she and her mother were asleep at the time when the incident happened Wednesday night because she works the late shift at the hospital. Her grandson, a Galion student, witnessed the fight unfold.
Brandt said multiple people – including her grandson – informed her that the sophomore is a bully at school and on social media.
Her grandson issued a 500-word statement on Facebook to “make something clear” about the fight.
“[The sophomore] has bullied and harassed [another girl] and multiple other ‘victims’ since she has came to Galion Schools,” he said. “[The sophomore] has been pressuring [the other girl] into fighting her.”
“[The sophomore] states that my friends have bullied her even though she has done many disrespectful things such as: making fun of [one girl] for not having a father figure, [another girl] for her father passing away, another girl for being adopted, and also telling one of her old friends that she wished she would go kill herself.”
“I’m not saying the situation is OK,” he continued. “But for [the sophomore] to come off as a victim in this situation is not the truth.”
The grandson said the sophomore and a friend drove to his house on Wednesday, waiting “45 minutes” to fight a girl, who was expected to visit the Brandt residence because her boyfriend hangs out with the grandson after school.
“When [the girl] arrived [the sophomore] began saying things to [her] such as ‘You going to just stand there?’,” he said. “The two girls both began fighting and punching each other, but it was completely consensual between both of them.”
During the fight, two “noticeably bigger” other girls jumped in, Brandt’s grandson said.
“To be honest, everyone was completely unaware that that was those two girls’ intentions,” he said. “After the two girls jumped in and everyone had chance to process what was happening, multiple others did try to pull them off of [the sophomore]. All girls stopped fighting.”
The fight would have ended there, but Brandt’s grandson said the sophomore “started charging back” at the girl she intended to fight, which prolonged the event further.
“When [the sophomore] said she was done, [the girl] stopped, and that was the end of it,” he said. “I’m not saying I agree with this situation but this is what really happened. I regret allowing this to go own at my house, but it began out of my control. I just have to say; [the sophomore] maybe (sic) physically hurt but I can say that others are emotionally hurt, and that’s not something that just heals.”
Bill Baker, spokesman for the family, said he didn’t want to get into a “he said, she said” situation.
“We want to wait until the investigation is completed,” he said. “There’s a community responsibility here. Parents aren’t paying attention to what’s going on with their kids. Kids have the wrong impression that violence is OK and if you get Facebook likes, you’re more popular than somebody else. I don’t know the mentality behind it, but it’s dangerous.”
Reach Klein at 419-468-1117, ext. 2048 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.