Charges dropped against Florida teens accused of cyberbullying girl who committed suicide
Posted Nov 21, 2013 7:01 AM CST
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Aggravating stalking charges have been dropped against two Florida teens accused of cyberbullying a 12-year-old girl who committed suicide in September.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd defended the arrests of the girls, now 13 and 14 years old, the Orlando Sentinel report, the Associated Press andReuters. He said he was following Florida public records law when he released their arrest photos, and the girls are receiving counseling as a result of the arrests.
“Our goal was to create an intervention," Judd said.
The girl who committed suicide, Rebecca Sedwick, killed herself by jumping from a tower at an abandoned concrete plant.
The girls were accused of telling Sedwick in online messages to “drink bleach and die” and “go kill yourself.” The girls also told Sedwick she was ugly and “nobody likes you,” police said. The younger girl, once best friends with Rebecca, was accused of joining in the harassment with the older girl’s encouragement.
Former Casey Anthony lawyer Jose Baez now represents the younger girl who was charged. At a news conference on Tuesday, he said the sheriff’s actions in the case were "unconscionable," "reckless" and "reprehensible,” according to the Orlando Sentinel account. (AP places the news conference on Wednesday.)
"He should get a lawyer and a darn good one, 'cause he's going to need it," Baez said.