Similar Cases with Dissimilar Punishments: Differences Between the Slenderman and Laughing Jack Cases

A 12-year-old girl in Indiana allegedly stabbed and killed her stepmother to please Laughing Jack, a fictional character depicted on the CreepyPasta website. This case is eerily similar to the Slenderman case that occurred in Waukesha, WI, during the summer of 2014. In the Slenderman case, two 12-year-old girls allegedly stabbed their friend repeatedly in an attempt to murder her. According to police reports, the girls were trying to please the fictional character Slenderman, also depicted on the CreepyPasta website. But the resemblance between these two cases ends there. Since the girls in both cases entered the system, stark and important differences have emerged.

The girls are being processed in different courts

If you are a juvenile, the state in which you live can determine whether you enter juvenile or adult court. The girl in Indiana is being processed through juvenile court, while the girls in the Slenderman case are being treated as adults. In both states murder and attempted murder are considered statutory exclusion offenses, meaning if they commit these offenses after reaching a certain age, juveniles are automatically processed through the adult system. In Wisconsin that minimum age is 10; in Indiana it is 16. Therefore, despite the similarities between these cases, the simple fact that the Slenderman girls allegedly committed their crime in Wisconsin means they start in the adult court.

Access to mental health treatment

According to Milwaukee, WI, Fox 6 News, one of the girls in the Slenderman case has yet to receive mental health treatment despite being diagnosed with schizophrenia. The girl in Indiana, however, is currently receiving mental health treatment. The adult system is more focused on punishment, while the juvenile system is more concerned with treatment and the rehabilitation of the juvenile. Because the juvenile court's concern is for the welfare of the child, treatment is a priority and can begin quickly after intake.

Release of the girls' identities to the public

Identities of the girls in the Slenderman case are known to the public, while the identity of the girl in the Indiana case has not be released. This is due to the different courts in which the girls are being processed. The identity of the girl in the juvenile system is kept confidential and her record will not be available to the public. Because the Slenderman girls are being treated as adults, however, their identities are not protected. Their images and names have been released through the media and their records are publicly available, which can affect their abilities to get jobs, find housing, and receive federal financial assistance in the future.