Three Massachusetts teenagers have pleaded not guilty in the bullying of a 15-year-old girl who committed suicide after what prosecutors call months of threats and harassment. Sean Mulveyhill, 17, (shown here) with the victim Phoebe Prince is one of those charged and reportedly had a brief relationship with Prince before turning against her. Also charged are Kayla Narey, 17, and Austin Renaud, 18. They are among six teens (also including Ashley Longe, Flannery Mullins and Sharon Chanon Velazquez) charged in the bullying of Prince that led to her hanging herself on Jan. 14.
Mulveyhill and Renaud are charged with statutory rape. Mulveyhill and Narey are also charged with violation of civil rights resulting in bodily injury, criminal harassment and disturbance of a school assembly.
The case is another instance of lethal bullying, which I have written about previously here.
Mulveyhill is a star football player at South Hadley High School and reportedly had a relationship with Prince after she came to the high school after moving from Ireland.
The teenagers had reportedly been hounding Prince and, on the day of her suicide, she was threatened in school hallways, and had a drink thrown at her while she walked home.
Notably, prosecutors state that school officials knew about the harassment and failed to act after Prince’s mother raised the abuse with them. Schools have been rightfully sued over such failures to act in past cases of abuse, here.
Prosecutors said last month that faculty and administrators will not be charged, even though authorities say some of them knew about the bullying and that Phoebe’s mother brought her concerns to at least two of them. Prosecutors say although the school was aware of the bullying, failure to act prior to Prince’s death did not amount to criminal behavior. They will not, however, be criminally charged.
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