Fort Myers, Florida (News-Press) -- The state attorney's office has filed charges against a Fort Myers
girl accused of kicking a 72-year-old man and slapping an 89-year-old
man last month.
Traveshia Blanks, who
turned 16 while in custody, is charged as a juvenile with two counts of
battery on a person over 65 and one count of misdemeanor battery.
of the victims, Robert Lerberg, said Tuesday that he is doing better,
but couldn't come up with the words to describe how he feels about
Blanks or the charges against her.
"I can't think about it," he said. "It's so foreign to anything I have ever encountered."
allegedly admitted to sheriff's deputies she was imitating similar attacks she had seen online. The random attacks have been publicized by
national media, sometimes called "the knockout game," "slap cam" and
Deputies say a video Blanks' friend shot shows Blanks
kicking Lerberg. The group of five girls, members of the Cypress Lake
High School basketball team, then laugh and run away.
can't imagine anybody who would, at the tender age of 15 years old and
should know the difference between right and wrong, doing that and
standing there laughing at me while I'm still on the ground. It blows my
mind," he said.
Lee's school district can penalize students for off-campus felonies, said Amity Chandler, the district's spokeswoman.
the district couldn't speak on Blanks' situation, the district's
Student Code of Conduct says a student who has been formally charged
with a felony or with a delinquent act that would be a felony if
committed by an adult can be suspended or expelled from school. The
student may also be reassigned to a new school.
Blanks will be arraigned in juvenile court Thursday.
Lerberg hasn't seen or spoken to Blanks, and said he has nothing to say to her.
"We're on totally different wavelengths," he said, noting he feels sorry for her family.
hopes the case will set an example this sort of crime won't go
unpunished. Initially, the soft-spoken south Fort Myers resident shied
away from media interviews for fear of retaliation, but said he began to
realize talking about his experience might prevent it from happening to
"Raising awareness would help somebody else avoid the same situation, and if it has, I'm glad."
the Nov. 24 incident, Lerberg has had an outpouring of support,
including a group of Cypress Lake students who stopped by to help him do
gardening, which is what he was doing when the attack happened.
said several local companies have donated gardening materials, and one
person brought him a Christmas tree and helped him decorate it.
has really helped me a lot of deal with this situation, knowing there
are people who are supportive of me and don't wanna kick me to the
ground," he said, laughing a little. "Ya know? What can I say?"
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