William Bailey, 43, was charged after cell phone video made its way online that showed him and his 9-year-old son making fun of Hope Holcomb, a 10-year-old neighbor girl with cerebral palsy. The two families live next to each other and up until recently, their kids all got along and played together.
Hope’s mother said the trouble started with Bailey’s younger son bullying her daughter on the school bus. “She was miserable she didn’t want to ride the bus, cried every morning,” said Tricia Knight. ”He treats her like crap, and most recently the dad got involved.”
It was after the family called police regarding Bailey’s son and some damaged Halloween decorations in their yard that Hope’s grandmother decided to record any possible retaliation the following day at the bus stop. What she captured was William Bailey and his son walking away from the school bus with exaggerated limps.
“It makes me sick too, to think that a grown man would tease a 10-year-old disabled girl that has never done a thing to any of them for no reason, and now she doesn’t want to get on the bus to go to school,” said Hope’s father.
Bailey, who was once found guilty of aggravated menacing in a separate case, would not talk to reporters initially, but his wife did. She says the two families are feuding and that they’re both guilty of calling each other names. As for the video of her husband and son, she doesn’t understand what the big deal is. “He did get out of the car, you’ve seen the video I am sure, my kid was walking like, but no offense to Hope so why they are taking it that way, I have no idea,” Vickie Bailey said.
William Bailey would eventually talk to reporters and echo his wife’s statements, claiming he was not making fun of Hope. “I love that little girl,” he said. “I never even meant that or anything at all toward little Hope. I don’t make fun of anybody with a disability.” He went on to explain that what he was doing in the video was reacting to his son being called a retard. “If they want to call us retard, we’ll show them a retard,” he said.
Hope’s mother would end up filing a menacing complaint against Bailey, saying he threatened to choke her with a chain, while a Stark County sheriff’s deputy filed the disorderly conduct complaint as a result of the video. Bailey would end up charged with first-degree misdemeanor menacing and fourth degree disorderly conduct.
On Tuesday he pleaded guilty to the reduced charges of fourth-degree misdemeanor menacing and a minor misdemeanor charge. The judge sentenced him to 29-days in jail and ordered to pay $400 in court costs, plus fines. He is to report to jail on Jan 2.
Bailey did not make a comment, but his attorney handed out a media statement which read: “To Hope and her family, please accept my apology for my inappropriate behavior. I know that my actions were immature and lacked the respect you deserve. I didn’t realize the impact this incident would have upon both of our families and I truly regret it.”
Bailey also wrote an apology to Hope, an apology that Hope’s mother called “crap.” Her parents did say they were happy with the sentence, but say it has not changed anything. Even after his arrest, they say problems with Bailey and his family is still ongoing.