Two Girls Charged After Suicide Of 12-Year-Old Girl Who Was Bullied On The Internet

article-2420424-1BCF1102000005DC-539_634x502There are two arrests in Florida after the suicide of 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick (left) who was bullied on the Internet, including at least one mocking posting by one of the girls after the suicide. The two girls (aged 14 and 12) have been charged with felonies.

One of the suspects went to the same school with Sedwick and had been dating Sedwick’s former boyfriend. The boyfriend has since gone public to criticize the two girls. The other girl was once Sedwick’s best friend. The older suspect allegedly organized other kids to hound and abuse Sedwick. Up to 15 kids harassed Sedwick. Comments ranged from “drink bleach and die” to “You should die” and “why don’t you go kill yourself?” According to reports, the night before Rebecca killed herself, she messaged a friend that, “I’m jumping. I can’t take it anymore.”

article-2462887-18C1E35700000578-522_306x423One of the girls went to Facebook after the suicide to say that she didn’t care about the suicide. Police say that, despite being contacted in the case, the parents continued to allow their girls to use Facebook. The girls, ages 12 and 14, have been charged with felony aggravated stalking. The father of the 14-year-old told media that his daughter was “a good girl” and he was “100 percent sure that whatever they’re saying about my daughter is not true.” The prosecutor has said that he would arrest the parents if he could. The question is whether the parents of the victim will sue the parents of the suspects in torts as a civil matter.

The charges for some will renew the anger over the lack of any conviction for Lori Drew who pushed a young girl to suicide by tricking her on the Internet into believing there was a young boy in love with her and then dumped her.

This case also raises an interesting question of journalistic ethics. While other sites have released the photos and names of the girls (since the prosecutor did so as individuals charged with felonies), other sites have withheld the information due to their age. The question is whether, in light of the public release of the names and mugshots by the prosecutors, the information should be made available to readers or censored out of this and other sites. It is an ironic protection given the accusation against the girls of organizing a group of girls to hound Rebecca. Yet, these are very young girls who are normally protected from public disclosures in criminal cases.

What do you think?

67 thoughts on “Two Girls Charged After Suicide Of 12-Year-Old Girl Who Was Bullied On The Internet”

  1. LK,

    I’m not happy about it, but I do have mixed feelings on the issue. I think parents bear some responsibility when it comes to bullying – both in preventing it and in teaching their kids how to deal with bullies. That being said, any time a systematic pattern of abuse can be proven – either physical or psychological – I think there should be remedy.

    1. Hey Gene,

      I think it’s hard to draw a legal line between coercion and bullying. Is there even a legal definition for bullying. We have some very mean spirited people in our society today. You would have to determine the mindset of the antagonist(s) and one of the girls appears to have been much more mean spirited than the other. This doesn’t seem to stop with children so there are also some level of sociological aspects to this case. Obviously parents and many members of society play a role in the raising of our children. These children are also young and old enough to be both innocent and cognizant of their actions. A sad story none the less.

      Situations like this drive me up a wall because I believe that there are some profound aspects of our socioeconomic system that also plays a role and could be changed, if the specific will of the people existed.

      I think it would have ended up being a psychological battle between those prosecuting and those defending and a difficult can of worms in which to gain a social benefit. However, it is an obviously a problem. I thought the Officers statement that he wished he could arrest the parents was cool.

      Hopefully the mere fact that they were arrested sends an interesting message to those children and all those following the story. How do you think this will play out? I know this is your area of interest.

      Do you know if there was any real physical abuse in this situation or just harassment?

  2. lotta,
    Troubling to say the least. I would like to see the class prospectus for the diversion program.

  3. Gene, thanks for the update. I find that decision troubling. I would have hoped that the decision to drop the charges would have come with a requirement that the “diversion program” the older girl had entered would be completed successfully as determined by professionals. Apparently the 12 year old just walks? I’m not sure that I’m comfortable with the state just washing its hands of them so… shallowly? That’s the word that comes to mind.

  4. Hi Lottakatz,

    Thank you for the warm welcome back… 🙂

    I hope all is well with you….

    and thank you also for the kind compliment….
    I was bullied in school… and it was HORRIBLE….
    I have NEVER bullied anybody… and I wanted to make sure my daughter
    was the same way……

    I wish more parents would give a care about how their kinds act….
    It would be a much better world if this were the case….

  5. JAG! Haven’t seen you around for quite a while except once last month I believe it may have been. I hope you are well and everything is fine with you. Nice to see you again and good for you (and your kids) on the home training in kindness.

  6. Robin, I understood exactly, that FU message sure looked sociopathic and that child needs something. We may disagree on what but we did get the same vibe. That message didn’t bode well for her future or society’s future if she is allowed to remain free.

  7. Being that my daughter and husband are both PC users… My husband has a mirror of my daughters computer on his computer, so we can AL:WAYS see what she writes to other people and on the internet….

    If I EVER caught my daughter bullying somebody in person or on the internet, I would remove her social life sooooo FREAKING fast, her head would spin…..
    Of course I have DRILLED in her from a VERY young age, that we do not
    bully people….. that we treat EVERYBODY with kindness….

    being that bullying is an ON going thing….
    I think these girls should be punished with the FULL extent of the law
    and then some…..

    I also think the parents should have to do some kind of
    community service to learn how to act like a parent…….

  8. i have a comment stuck in the dregs will someone please dig it out. not sure what word i put in it that would get it stuck in the filter … and if it can be rescued i thank you much

  9. @ lottakatz Thank you for understanding exactly what i meant. at that age there should be some remorse for being part of a reason someone took their life. especially since the 14 yr olds reasoning is behind a little boy. the 12 yr old dated first and in all reality there should be no boyfriends in any of their existence at that age. but of course we have those who are all right with that and then they wonder where serial killers, sociapaths, etc come from!!!! ??????

  10. RobinH45…I agree with you. The parents are to blame to a point but at age 14 you are well pass the age of discretion. I for one do not buy this crap that she was not yet developed brain wise….does that go for all the other kids as well?

    1. Yeah, Jean, who cares about all that stupid science crap. Your gut instinct about a child you’ve never met is certainly superior to actual empirical evidence.

  11. Pete,
    That is an amazing story of how the family in Maryville was treated after their 13 year old daughter was raped.
    I don’t have any doubt that Chris Christie is a bully. He may gets votes because of it, but he is a bully.

  12. Mark,

    There’s nothing wrong with being in the minority. Christie’s spit-in-your-eye style resonates with blue collar, ethnic Jerseyans, the kind that have never seen an NFL game but root for the Giants solely because they play in NJ; the kind that when you open their microwave you find eggplant parmesan; or the kind that, after a night of bowling, head for the diner and order a Taylor porkroll sandwich. Sorry for the run-on sentence there. Most recent poll (October 10-14) shows Christie leading 62-33, notwithstanding that Democrat Booker took the Senate seat just last week with 55% of the vote and Republicans nationwide have been taking a beating.

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