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Two girls, 12 and 14, charges with felony for bullying.

  • 10-16-2013 | 01:27 PM
  • EpyonXero
  • http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/16/us...a-sedwick.html

    Felony Counts for 2 in Suicide of Bullied 12-Year-Old
    MIAMI — For the Polk County sheriff’s office, which has been investigating the cyberbullying suicide of a 12-year-old Florida girl, the Facebook comment was impossible to disregard.

    In Internet shorthand it began “Yes, ik” — I know — “I bullied Rebecca nd she killed herself.” The writer concluded that she didn’t care, using an obscenity to make the point and a heart as a perverse flourish. Five weeks ago, Rebecca Ann Sedwick, a seventh grader in Lakeland in central Florida, jumped to her death from an abandoned cement factory silo after enduring a year, on and off, of face-to-face and online bullying.

    The Facebook post, Sheriff Grady Judd of Polk County said, was so offensive that he decided to move forward with the arrest immediately rather than continue to gather evidence. With a probable cause affidavit in hand, he sent his deputies Monday night to arrest two girls, calling them the “primary harassers.” The first, a 14-year-old, is the one who posted the comment Saturday, he said. The second is her friend, and Rebecca’s former best friend, a 12-year-old.

    Both were charged with aggravated stalking, a third-degree felony and will be processed through the juvenile court system. Neither had an arrest record. The older girl was taken into custody in the juvenile wing of the Polk County Jail. The younger girl, who the police said expressed remorse, was released to her parents under house arrest.

    Originally, Sheriff Judd said he had hoped to wait until he received data from two far-flung cellphone application companies, Kik Messenger and ask.fm, before moving forward.

    “We learned this over the weekend, and we decided that, look, we can’t leave her out there,” Sheriff Judd said, referring to the older girl. “Who else is she going to torment? Who else is she going to harass? Who is the next person she verbally abuses and attacks?”

    He said the older girl told the police that her account had been hacked, and that she had not posted the comment.

    “She forced this arrest today,” Sheriff Judd said.

    Rebecca was bullied from December 2012 to February 2013, according to the probable cause affidavit. But her mother, Tricia Norman, has said the bullying began long before then and continued until Rebecca killed herself.

    The older of the two girls acknowledged to the police that she had bullied Rebecca. She said she had sent Rebecca a Facebook message saying that “nobody” liked her, the affidavit said. The girl also texted Rebecca that she wanted to “fight” her, the police said. But the bullying did not end there; Rebecca was told to “kill herself” and “drink bleach and die” among other things, the police added.

    The bullying contributed to Rebecca’s suicide, the sheriff said.

    Brimming with outrage and incredulity, the sheriff said in a news conference on Tuesday that he was stunned by the older girl’s Saturday Facebook posting. But he reserved his harshest words for the girl’s parents for failing to monitor her behavior, after she had been questioned by the police, and for allowing her to keep her cellphone.

    “I’m aggravated that the parents are not doing what parents should do: after she is questioned and involved in this, why does she even have a device?” Sheriff Judd said. “Parents, who instead of taking that device and smashing it into a thousand pieces in front of that child, say her account was hacked.”

    The police said the dispute with Rebecca began over a boy. The older girl was upset that Rebecca had once dated her boyfriend, they said.

    “She began to harass and ultimately torment Rebecca,” said the sheriff, describing the 14-year-old as a girl with a long history of bullying behavior.

    The police said the older girl began to turn Rebecca’s friends against her, including her former best friend, the 12-year-old who was charged. She told anyone who tried to befriend Rebecca that they also would be bullied, the affidavit said.

    The bullying leapt into the virtual world, Sheriff Judd said, and Rebecca began receiving sordid messages instructing her to “go kill yourself.” The police said Rebecca’s mother was reluctant to take her cellphone away because she did not want to alienate her daughter and wanted her to be able to communicate with her friends. Ms. Norman tried, she has said, to monitor Rebecca’s cellphone activity.

    In December, the bullying grew so intense that Rebecca began cutting herself and was sent to a hospital by her mother to receive psychiatric care. Ultimately, her mother pulled her out of Crystal Lake Middle School. She home schooled her for a while and then enrolled her in a new school in August.

    But the bullying did not stop.

    “As a child, I can remember sticks and stones can break your bones but words will never hurt you,” the sheriff said. “Today, words stick because they are printed and they are there forever.”

    Some of the messages were sent using a variety of social media smartphone messaging and photo-sharing applications, including ask.fm and Kik Messenger, that parents have a difficult time keeping track of.

    “Watch what your children do online,” Sheriff Judd said. “Pay attention. Quit being their best friend and be their best parent. That’s important.”
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  • 10-16-2013 | 01:34 PM
  • Particle Man
  • “Watch what your children do online,” Sheriff Judd said. “Pay attention. Quit being their best friend and be their best parent. That’s important.”

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  • 10-16-2013 | 01:50 PM
  • OneSickPsycho
  • Quote Particle Man
    “Watch what your children do online,” Sheriff Judd said. “Pay attention. Quit being their best friend and be their best parent. That’s important.”

    Not only this, but EVERYTHING that guy was saying.
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  • 10-18-2013 | 08:48 AM
  • Papa_Complex
  • Jeez. When I was a kid any other kid who didn't feel 'alienated' by his parents wasn't normal. Then again most families didn't have both parents working so that they could afford a second car, 378 cable channels, internet access for the 6 family computers, and 5 widescreen TVs.
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  • 10-18-2013 | 08:26 PM
  • EpyonXero
  • I think this anti-bullying stuff is getting out of hand. Parents need to teach there kids how to deal with adversity. I wonder if this is related the "everybodys a winner" phenomenon.
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  • 10-19-2013 | 02:56 AM
  • Papa_Complex
  • Quote EpyonXero
    I think this anti-bullying stuff is getting out of hand. Parents need to teach there kids how to deal with adversity. I wonder if this is related the "everybodys a winner" phenomenon.
    Parents also need to teach their kids not to be obsessive unrelenting dicks. That doesn't seem to happen anymore either.
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  • 10-19-2013 | 09:26 AM
  • Flexin
  • Why did all her friends abandon her? Why didn't the school system step in? Was this reported to the police before she killed herself?

    Why can't parents teach their kids to stand up for them self? The parent of the bully failed big time.

    Kids need to be taught that suicide is not the answer. I don't understand why they would take their own life. You would think at some point before then you would get passed off enough to kick the white out of the bully. Walk up to her know the hall and put a math book upside her head.

    The kids standing around watching all this need to grow a set and say something.

    There were some guys that were fired at a job I had before. The rumor was that some were making a lot of sexual comments. One was said to be bullying people. I know he tried to say stuff to me but I would do the same to him so he didn't bother with me.

    Two girls and one guy I was friends with started taken their break a half hour later then then the rest of us. It might have been because of him. I just remembered of e day he told the guy that he was gay for going to break with the girls. He tried to get me involved by saying goes "right James?". I just looked at him and said, "He came up with two girls. You came up with her with 12 guys. While is gay?". He just stood there with a stupid look on his face and didn't know what to say.

    If nothing else works. My kids are allowed to knock a bully on their ass. I will give them a high five.

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  • 10-19-2013 | 10:39 AM
  • azoomm
  • The fail involved on this situation is amazing. Just everywhere, on all sides. What the hell.
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