The Associated Press State & Local Wire

April 21, 2000

One Of Attackers Of Black Teen Transferred To Halfway House


Three years after beating a black teen-ager into a coma, a white Chicago man has been transferred from prison into an Urbana halfway house where there are no fences or armed guards.

Frank Caruso Jr., 21, who was sentenced to eight years in prison for the racially motivated attack of Lenard Clark, was transferred April 5 from the Sheridan Correctional Center in LaSalle County to the Adult Transitional Center.

Caruso, who is eligible for parole in 2002 if he behaves, qualified for the transfer because he has less than two years remaining in his sentence, prison officials said. Also, the crimes for which he was convicted - aggravated battery and a hate crime - do not disqualify him from living in a halfway house, according to prison regulations.

"The bottom line is that we treat this kid just like everybody else," said Nic Howell, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Corrections. Like others at the facility, Caruso can leave for work or school. Howell said Caruso is looking for a job.

Clark was attacked in 1997 by a group of white teen-agers, including Caruso, as Clark rode his bicycle through a predominantly white neighborhood on the city's South Side. The attack focused attention on the city's lingering racial tensions, made national headlines and was condemned by President Clinton in a national radio address.

Caruso was convicted by a jury and sentenced to prison in 1998. Two other white teen-agers pleaded guilty and received probation.

Clark, who was 13 at the time of the attack, regained consciousness. But he continues to suffer brain damage as a result of the beating.

In January, Clark visited Caruso in prison, and even posed for a photograph with him.

Return to

(c) All orginal work Copyright 1998. All rights reserved..