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8-year-old charged in second assault

An 8-year-old Orchard Heights Elementary School student who assaulted his foster mother after returning home from juvenile detention was found capable and charged with a crime, according to Kitsap County Juvenile Division Deputy Prosecutor Todd Dowell.

The second grader was arrested March 2 and charged with five counts of fourth-degree assault after reportedly attacking principal Natalie Reed, assistant principal Darek Grant, three students and his foster mother.

He was booked into Kitsap County Juvenile Center and released the following day.

However, the next day he was arrested again for assaulting his foster mother and re-booked into the detention center for fourth-degree assault.

At a hearing March 17, Kitsap County Judge Russell Hartman found the boy — who, at 8 years old, is the youngest a defendant can be and still be considered capable of a crime — did not have the capacity to commit a crime in the first arrest, but found him capable in the second.

Dowell said since it was the boy’s first offense, his case was diverted from court proceedings and is now completed.

“He was given credit for time served,” Dowell said. “He spent six days in detention, which is a lot for an 8-year-old.”

According to the Port Orchard Police Department incident report, Orchard Heights principal Natalie Reed called police to report the boy had assaulted her, Grant and three students. She said the boy had been assaultive in the past and she was concerned he would harm others if no law enforcement action was taken, School Resource Officer Bob MacFann wrote.

Reed said the incident began when a teacher reported seeing the student shove and punch three other students during recess. The teacher alerted Grant, who said he witnessed the student acting uncontrollably and making threats.

According to the report, when the principals tried to escort the student to the school office, he allegedly punched and kicked them.

They ultimately needed assistance from the school custodian to carry the student into the office, Reed said.

When Officer MacFann arrived on scene, he spoke with the school officials and the boy’s foster mother, whom MacFann said had several noticeable bruises on her arms.

“From my years of experience and training,” MacFann wrote, “the bruising had been caused by (repeated assaults).”

The foster mother said the boy had punched her in the arms on numerous occasions. She said he also assaults his siblings at home, and any attempts to control his behavior have just resulted in more assaults.

She said she did not discipline him because she was worried it might jeopardize her foster care license. She also said she had been advised by social workers that there was little she could do as far as disciplinary actions due to the boy’s age.

MacFann then asked the boy what happened at recess earlier that day. The boy told the officer that he decided to punch the other students. When Mac-Fann asked if the other students had threatened or harmed him, the boy said they hadn’t, and he just didn’t like them.

The boy then admitted to kicking the school officials, and said he punched his foster mother because he was mad at her for not doing what he wanted.

MacFann wrote that based on his observations, investigation and concern for the safety of others, he arrested the boy for the alleged assaults.

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