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Teenage girls accused of assaulting, bullying autistic boy

Two teenage girls in Maryland allegedly held a knife to the throat of an autistic 16-year-old boy and forced him to perform various sex acts as part of two months of bullying, authorities said.

Lauren Ashley Bush, 17, has been charged as an adult in St. Mary's County in southern Maryland with two counts of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault, false imprisonment and child pornography solicitation. A 15-year-old girl is facing the same allegations in juvenile court.

The St. Mary County Sheriff’s Department said much of the activity was videotaped by the girls and that more charges could be filed as the investigation continues.

In documents filed in court, sheriff's investigators alleged that the girls dragged the boy by his hair, kicked him in the groin and forced him onto a partially frozen pond, whose thin ice he repeatedly fell through. They also said one of the videos allegedly taken by the girls showed the boy in sex acts.

The boy’s mother told the Washington Post that he was diagnosed with autism while in elementary school. She described him as fully functional, but “socially naive” and too trusting of the girls. He has struggled to understand what happened to him and thinks that the girls are his friends, she said.

The three teenagers attended the same school, Chopticon High in Morganza, Md. According to a court document, it was the 15-year-old girl's mother who first saw one of the videos and told a deputy assigned to the school, prompting the investigation.

The 15-year-old girl was being held by juvenile authorities as of Tuesday, and her current status was not immediately available. Bush was booked into jail and released on her own recognizance Tuesday. She told investigators that all of her actions were part of a "game," according to the court document filed by sheriff's officials. Bush has no criminal history, according to court documents.

The St. Mary’s County public defender’s office, which is listed in court records as representing Bush, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about the case. It was unclear if a court date had been set.

"Who can harbor this ill-will to do something so completely heinous," Sheriff Tim Cameron told WJLA-TV. "It's hard to fathom."

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