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Lisbon mom whose son was beaten says she wants attackers to learn from mistake

Hayley Rodway said her 14-year-old son was beaten but said the kids who attacked him need community support.

LISBON, Maine — Hayley Rodway moved to Lisbon this year with her children. She said her 14-year-old son Gibson, who has autism, had a hard time making friends.

"It can be a little painful to watch and see your child rejected can be hard," Rodway said.

But Gibson started to hang out with several teenagers. Shortly after, he came home with a bloody face. Rodway said she learned Gibson was beaten by one of the teens.

"I was furious," Rodway said. "To see our kid like that is jarring... blood pouring down... It's just jarring and upsetting."

Rodway said she spoke to the mom of the alleged attacker and filed a police report.

She learned this wasn't the first time the teen who allegedly attacked her son was in trouble, and pressing charges could result in consequences that would stick with that child's life.

"It's hard to get through being angry for your child, but obviously, something isn't working for those kids too," she said.

Rodway said she is working to have a community conversation with her son and the family of the alleged attacker about how they can move on. 

Credit: Hayley Rodway
Hayley Rodway's son, Gibson, was beaten by another teenager. Rodway said she wants to bring more community resources to help teens.

"I've gone through somewhat of a troubled childhood myself," Rodway said, adding she doesn't want to be responsible for possibly giving a teenager jail time.

The Lisbon Police Chief, Ryan McGee, couldn't comment on the case citing the ongoing investigation, but said Rodway's actions are commendable.

"I think we need more compassionate people like that child's mother," Chief McGee said. "We make mistakes when we are young and it's about working through those mistakes."

For Jamie Dorr, the Executive Director of the Midcoast Youth Center, Maine is lacking in resources for children who are vulnerable to being involved in the juvenile justice system.

"People say, 'Oh kids these days,' and really what they should be asking is, 'Where are the resources?'" Dorr said.

Dorr said staffing issues statewide prevent police departments and community organizations from reaching as many kids as they can, but a best practice would be creating after-school programs catered to at-risk youth.

"There's a lacking infrastructure for youth development, especially in places like Lisbon," Dorr said. 

Rodway said she hopes to solve the dispute and speak more with the family in the coming weeks.

"The bottom line is you feel like you need to protect your child, but there is more than one way to do that and to include all the kids in the solution," Rodway said.

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