MANASQUAN - The mother of a Howell 19-year-old with autism has filed charges against two men she says bullied her son.
Christine Marshall says former classmates of her son, Parker Drake, dared him to swim out into the ocean in Manasquan and then filmed it while he struggled for help.
Drake says the classmates said they would pay him $20 and two packs of cigarettes if he went out into the water.
"I was just gasping for air the whole time, salt water going down my throat,” he says.
Drake says his insulin pump for diabetes froze. His mother says the men took advantage of her son's disability, adding that he could have died.
"Even though physically he's 19 years old, mentally he's not,” Marshall says.
Marshall reported the incident to police, but authorities say no laws were broken. Her lawyer disagrees, saying what happened violates the endangering the welfare of an incompetent person law.
"Not every state has protections for adult disabled persons, but New Jersey does. I think what we're running into in this particular issue is a reluctance to prosecute and enforce the law,” says attorney Lisa Krenkel.
The Monmouth County prosecutor tells News 12 New Jersey that the special victim's bureau did a thorough and exhaustive review of this case, and the conduct did not rise to the level of an indictable crime.
Calls made to the two men accused of bullying Drake for comment were not returned.