Special needs boy forced to expose himself by gang
GARDAI are investigating a disturbing bullying incident in which a special needs boy was targeted by teens who first shoved twigs into his mouth and then took videos after persuading him to expose himself.
The photos and video were later posted on social media. The offending images were all removed within 24 hours.
Gardai are now investigating all circumstances of the incident which is alleged to have occurred in the south-Cork area.
However, no formal complaint has yet been made.
The 15-year-old boy was singled out by a group of youths last week. The boy was first humiliated before the shocking video footage was filmed.
Karen O'Mahony of the Cork-based Masquerade Ball support group for special needs children said people remain in disbelief over the appalling incident. The family of the boy involved do not want to be identified though they are said to be "totally distraught".
They only discovered what had happened when a youngster who lives nearby called to their door to inform them.
But the parents were horrified to later learn that footage had been posted online.
"It was very, very distressing. In fact, I am still upset by the details of what happened," Ms O'Mahony said.
She has spoken with the boy's mother who was heartbroken over the incident.
"This was a terrible thing for any child to be subjected to, let alone a young boy with special needs."
An appeal for information on Cork radio station 96FM generated an overwhelming response. It is now believed that a total of five youths, aged between 14 and 16 years, confronted the special needs boy while he was alone. At least two of those allegedly involved have now been identified.
The footage has been removed from the social media site involved and gardai are now understood to be following up on all those linked to the internet posting.
The boy involved in the bullying remains totally oblivious to the incident. He is understood to have profound special needs.
His family are devastated and deeply hurt by what happened in their own community.
"It is a shocking and disgusting way to treat a vulnerable child," Karen added.
"Every parent that has a child with special needs fears this everyday - that our children could fall prey to ignorant bullies. Shame on these teenagers," she added.
Gardai said inquiries into the matter remain ongoing.