October 15, 2013

Felony Charges for 2 Girls in Suicide of Bullied 12-Year-Old

10-15-2013 Florida:

MIAMI — Two girls, 12 and 14, have been charged with aggravated stalking, a third-degree felony, in the death of a 12-year-old girl who committed suicide last month after being repeatedly bullied in person and online, the Polk County sheriff said Tuesday.

At an emotional news conference, Sheriff Grady Judd said the two girls were charged after the older one posted an offensive online comment on Facebook on Saturday in connection with the case.

“Yes, I bullied Rebecca and she killed herself and I don’t give a,” said a comment posted on the girl’s account Saturday morning. The sentence ended with an expletive. Five weeks ago, Rebecca Ann Sedwick, a Lakeland seventh-grader, jumped to her death from a cement factory tower after enduring a year, on and off, of physical and online bullying.

With the latest post, deputies moved quickly on Monday night to arrest the 14-year-old girl they said was the prime instigator and a 12-year-old friend. Neither girl had an arrest record.

“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.

Sheriff Judd said the decision to arrest was sudden. Originally, he had hoped to wait until he received data from two far-flung cellphone application companies, Kik Messenger and ask.fm, before moving forward. But, with enough probable cause in hand and the offensive post, he said, he decided not to wait. ..Continued.. by LIZETTE ALVAREZ

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