A Massachusetts man says he was attacked by a 12-year-old boy with a baseball bat over the weekend, leaving the father of two with graphic injuries.
On Sunday night, Gary Anctil of Southbridge said he complained to a neighbor that her children had been defacing a local church with graffiti, thinking that bringing it to the mother's attention would get them to stop.
However, to Anctil's surprise, one of the kids, a 12-year-old boy, came after him with a baseball bat, beating him on the head, Anctil said.
Due to Massachusetts' recently signed criminal reform bill this past spring, Anctil's suspected assailant wasn't arrested.
One of the provisions in the bill, signed by Gov. Charlie Baker, raised the age of criminal responsibility from 7 to 12.
"Twelve years old, you can do this to a person and nothing can happen," Anctil said.
An adult convicted of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon could face a couple of years in prison, yet a juvenile may not risk getting that kind of sentence.
Anctil said the boy also attacked him when he least suspected, swinging at his head.
"He was on the top step and he said, 'Hey,'" Anctil said. "I turned around, and that's when he swung in and caught me in the head.
Anctil says what astonishes him the most is the fact that the boy wasn't arrested.
"'You guys didn't arrest him?'" Ancti said he asked the officers. "'Well, no, a new law that passed [states that if you're] 12 years old and under, nothing's going to happen to him; he'll get a slap on the hand.' I'm like, 'Are you kidding?'"
In keeping with juvenile offender law, Southbridge police issued a summons for the boy to appear in court on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, a felony. According to the law, the boy is being held responsible but was not arrested.
Anctil said his gash required dozens of stitches to close and added that he's having the symptoms of a concussion.