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Monday, May 21, 2018
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Pasco teen accepts plea deal in school bus beating

NEW PORT RICHEY - A teenager involved in a school bus beating that made national headlines accepted a plea deal Thursday.
Dominique Thorne, 17, was charged with first-degree misdemeanor battery after she was filmed attacking 16-year-old Chase Cristia on Feb. 1 on a bus ride home from Mitchell High School. She will receive 270 days of probation.
Some of the conditions of her probation include a strict curfew, no access to social media, anger management classes and a letter of apology to Cristia. Thorne was also ordered to pay restitution of about $2,900 to Cristia.
Thorne will also testify against the 16-year-old girl who recorded the attack. According to assistant state attorney Eric Rosario, the 16-year-old encouraged Thorne to fight Cristia and posted the video on Facebook.
Cristia wrote a statement about the attack that Rosario read during Thursday's hearing. Cristia said the past five months have been difficult for her and her family. She had anxiety and post-traumatic stress issues after the beating.
"My bruises have healed, but the mental scars will only improve with time," she said in the letter. "What these girls did to me was unprovoked and brutal. If the physical part of this wasn't bad enough, they only made it worse by posting it all over the Internet."
Circuit Judge Shawn Crane called Cristia's letter eloquent and said it was clear she has a kind heart.
"I feel like it makes it even more unfair, doesn't it?" he said.
Cristia left the courtroom before the video was shown during the hearing. Her mother, Tracy Cristia, wiped tears from her eyes throughout the hearing.
Crane called Thorne's conduct outrageous and said there was no excuse for her behavior.
"It's supposed to be a safe place," he said. "You put your children on a bus, you expect them to be safe."
Cristia did not fight back during the attack, according to a sheriff's office report. She covered herself with her arms as she was being struck on her head and shoulders. She did not sustain any serious injuries, according to the sheriff's office.
Tracy Cristia said she was pleased with how the hearing went.
"I think they threw everything at her they could," she said. "I really do hope Ms. Dominique learns a lesson from this. I hope she turns things around."
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