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Two teenage girls, including one who was held at a state juvenile facility while the other faced the prospect of being put back in jail, now are both on house arrest as they await more hearings related to alleged criminal conduct with a boy from their school.

On Monday, a St. Mary’s judge ordered the release of the younger, 15-year-old girl from pretrial detention. A prosecutor argued during a court hearing that the girl should remain at the Thomas J.S. Waxter Children’s Center in Anne Arundel County, where she was placed last month, but the judge agreed with a request by the girl’s lawyer and her parents, as well as a recommendation by agents with the state’s department of juvenile services, that she be sent home until another court proceeding later this week.

The older suspect in the case, 17-year-old Lauren Ashley Bush, also remains on house arrest after a follow-up hearing on her pretrial release was canceled last week. Circuit court charges have been filed against her including first-degree assault, false imprisonment and inducing the boy to be a subject of a performance depicting sexual conduct and sadomasochistic abuse. Bush’s lawyers have filed a request that the counts against their client, charged from the onset as an adult, be transferred to juvenile court.

At Monday’s hearing for the younger girl, St. Mary’s Assistant State’s Attorney John Pleisse’s concern about releasing her from custody was rebuffed by both her lawyer and the agent from the state department of juvenile services.

“It’s not punishment that we’re trying to do with this young lady. It’s rehabilitation,” James Tanavage, the girl’s lawyer, said.

Daniel B. Schaidt, a juvenile services’ case management supervisor, concurred that “she should come home to her parents. We do not feel that she is any further danger to the community.” The girl’s only prior offense was property destruction, Schaidt said, involving throwing eggs at a house.

“They’re ganging up on you, Mr. Pleisse,” St. Mary’s Circuit Judge Karen H. Abrams said.

Pleisse responded that an evaluation report described the girl as being a person of “moderate risk,” and that “there’s nothing in the report that says she ought to go home.”

The girl’s mother assured the judge that “I will be able to watch her 24/7,” and would make sure the child goes to her counseling appointments.

St. Mary’s detectives filed initial district court charging papers last month alleging that cellphone videos showed Bush twice threatening the 16-year-old boy with a knife, dragging him by the hair and kicking him in the groin, between last December and early February at his Mechanicsville home. Another video showed the boy and the younger girl on a bed, accompanied by a dog, court papers state, and a video also shows the boy walking onto a frozen pond, where he repeatedly fell through the ice and got back out on his own. The county sheriff said last month that the boy’s parents told investigators that the child has a form of autism.

At the younger girl’s court hearing on Monday, Abrams said the alleged conduct went beyond more familiar issues of juveniles being involved in drugs or fighting. “This kind of stuff is just out of [that] realm,” she said.

Abrams ultimately agreed to release the girl to “house arrest,” with an electronic-monitoring bracelet, and told her, “This is serious business. I see you [are] crying, but everybody does. You have to work your way out of this situation.”

Abrams also ordered that the girl have no visitors, not use a cellphone or online social media, and have no contact with the boy, who was described by the judge as “a trusting, innocent soul who was so badly abused that it’s just horrifying.”

Home schooling is being arranged for both girls, the prosecutor said, in accordance with requirements that they not go back to Chopticon High School until the charges against them are resolved.

As to the boy’s mental capacity, Pleisse said Tuesday at his office in the courthouse, “If and when that time comes, that issue can be addressed.”

The younger girl is scheduled to appear in court before another judge later this week for a status hearing in her case.

jwharton@somdnews.com