3 juveniles charged in beating of Iowa teen

DES MOINES – Three teenage boys have been charged in an assault of a 16-year-old boy, which Des Moines police said word of spread quickly online after witnesses bragged about the beating on Facebook.

Des Moines police said Saturday two 15-year-olds and a 16-year-old were charged with willful injury, a felony. Family members of 16-year-old Nathan Rogers say Monday night’s attack was so severe that the East High School student was hospitalized. Police say Nathan lost consciousness during the incident.

The boy’s mother, Stacie Weldon, said witnesses sent pictures of Nathan to their Facebook friends. Weldon said Nathan has received text messages and Facebook messages from the boys’ friends saying Nathan wouldn’t have been beaten for nothing, and that he must have provoked his attackers.

“There’s so many of their friends harassing him now, I’m scared to send him to school,” Weldon said.

A Des Moines police spokesman said the 16-year-old assault suspect’s case will be moved to adult court. A hearing is required before the 15-year-olds can be tried as adults. The Associated Press does not identify juveniles charged with crimes.

Weldon said she is still unsure if Nathan will need reconstructive surgery on his face. Nathan is visiting a plastic surgeon on Monday to determine how serious the damage is.