Mediation Helps Accused Teen Thieves Avoid Criminal Records
Thursday, March, 13, 2014
Nearly a dozen teenagers involved in the robbery of a taxidermy shop in Spokane, Washington in the United States have been given the chance to avoid having a criminal record due to a resurrected mediation program and the goodwill of the shop owner. The teens stand accused of stealing nearly $27,000 worth of stuffed animals and other materials from a shop owned by Dave Drury. The theft was apparently in service of a prank and to create a viral YouTube video.
Drury agreed to mediate a solution to the theft instead of pressing charges. The deal reached through mediation involves community service for each child involved, restitution of $10,000 to Drury, as well as personal letters of apology from each of the accused. Drury cited his own family of five children as motivation to empathize with the thieves.
Spokane once had a fairly robust teen crime mediation program, designed specifically to help juvenile first-time offenders avoid criminal records that could scar them for life. At its height the program was recording 200 resolutions a year, but funding disappeared five years ago. Former juvenile court mediator Bob Murphy was instrumental in proposing the mediated solution to Drury and the teens’ parents. Drury stated he was initially angry and determined to prosecute, but later thought better of it and decided to use the mediation as a chance to teach the teens a lesson.