A teenager is charged with raping a young girl, and authorities have a message for other area teens.
Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe couldn't go into the details of the specific case but did say it should be a wakeup call to parents and their children.
"I think it's unfortunate that sometimes when incidents do happen in our community they do serve as a reminder to the community and parents that maybe we need to wake up and understand the potential threats out there and talk to our children," Howe said.
A case involving a former Blue Valley Northwest student now charged with rape of a child under the age of 14 is causing quite a stir. Seth Bratten, 19, sits in the Johnson County Jail while his alleged victim - an eighth-grade girl just 13 at the time of the alleged rape - is reportedly several months pregnant with Bratten's child.
According to Shawnee police reports the case was reported to authorities by someone at the girl's middle school in February. It also says on the police report that Bratten, who would be a high school senior, and the girl were dating at the time.
Howe said his office always looks at each case individually but, in this case, he feels the charge was appropriate. The charge could send Bratten to prison for 25-years-to-life
"You've got two 13- or 14-year-olds - that's a lot different scenario than when you have a 13-year-old and a 19-year-old, and the age difference makes a big difference," Howe said.
But social media is buzzing about the arrest and the pending case. Some of Bratten's friends have started a push to try to get the charges dropped, using hashtag "free seth" at the end of comments and remarks.
While Howe wouldn't talk about the Bratten case specifically, he said it's the victims in these cases in which his office seeks justice.
"A person who is that much older than the victim, there's a lot of manipulation that can occur and I don't know too many 18- or 19-year-olds who want to be around a 13-year-old. That is a huge age differential, so that's a big factor to us," he said.
Bratten is being held on a $250,000 bond.
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