A man caught on video imitating the limp of a girl with cerebral palsy alongside his 9-year-old will have to go to jail.
The child's parents are pleased with the verdict, but they say the situation has been hard on their daughter.
Bill Bailey, 43, said very little as a Canton municipal judge sentenced him to the maximum penalty of 30 days behind bars. Bailey, of East Sparta, pleaded no contest and was found guilty to reduced charges of menacing and a minor misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge.
Assistant Canton Municipal Prosecutor Jennifer Fitzsimmons explained the disorderly conduct charge stemmed from Bailey's actions which were caught on tape by the girl's grandmother. The family said Bailey often mocked the way Hope , who has cerebral palsy, walks.
At the time of the incident, Bailey said he never intended to make fun
of Hope. He later claimed he was suffering from a work injury the day the video
was taken. He also said that both families, which live to next each other, have been feuding for months.
The menacing charges are due to comments he made to Hope's mother.
"We always think of the common bullying as one kid to another, but don't think because of a disability," Fitzsimmons said. "I think this brought that to the forefront, that you know what no one should be made fun of or criticized because of anything, especially something like a disability."
Bailey apologized to Hope's family after the sentencing and issued a statement asking them to accept his apology for his inappropriate behavior.
Hope's parents say even though they are satisfied with the sentence, but their daughter still struggles.
"She has been living with the fear and the worry, since it happened," Mike Knight said.
The Knights say they are afraid of retaliation and are considering filing a civil protection order against Bailey next week.
"Any time she sees him at the window, the intimidation continues -- not to the same extent, but he does it and he knows he is doing it," Knight said. "It affects her. She wants the blinds closed. She doesn't want to go outside."
Bailey must report to jail in January.