ATLANTA - Channel 2 Action News has uncovered another hole in the juvenile justice system.
A teenager now charged as an adult in a kidnapping and rape case, has been arrested and released more than a half-dozen times.
This is the fourth juvenile case like this that Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne has uncovered in recent months.
“You've got nowhere to put these kids,” juvenile court defense lawyer Adeline Alexander said.
Alexander represents Kenyatta Cosby.
Cosby, now 16, suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car wreck when he was about 11.
After a series of run-ins with the juvenile justice system, he should’ve been in a state-run secure mental health facility for juveniles.
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But for years Georgia has not had one.
“I do feel that the system let him down,” Cosby’s aunt Tasha Rogers told Winne.
“If he had been charged with the same kinds of things in the adult system, would he have been in a secure mental health facility locked up?” Winne asked Alexander.
“Absolutely. Absolutely,” Alexander said. “He would've been protected and the community would've been protected from him.”
Cosby has now been charged in the adult system with rape, kidnapping and battery.
Fulton County Public Defender Vernon Pitts said by phone he anticipates a not-guilty plea.
“It breaks my heart,” Alexander said.
Alexander said Kenyatta Cosby has had at least 9 cases in juvenile court going back to when he was 13 years old.
All of them came after his traumatic brain injury.
Four cases in 2013 and '14 ranged from criminal trespass to theft by receiving to entering auto.
Alexander told Winne she had no cases for more than a year and a half while he was on a closely monitored mental health plan through Fulton Juvenile Court, but that plan maxed out at two years.
“He stayed out of trouble for so long,” Alexander said.
Cosby was picked up on five juvenile cases in 2016, including a carjacking/armed robbery, obstruction of police and another robbery.
But he was mentally incompetent to stand trial in all nine.
Rogers said she believes Cosby is innocent of rape.
“I do feel all of this could have been avoided,” Rogers said. “All I can do is trust in the Lord. My faith has played a real big part in me getting through this situation.”
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