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Convicted in Cyberbullying That Allegedly Tried to Drive Teen Victim to Suicide, Man Gets 45 Days

Posted Jan 19, 2011 5:29 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Saying that defendant Matthew Riskin Bean and others need to understand that cyberbullying is a crime, a federal judge in Philadelphia yesterday sentenced the 20-year-old New Jersey man to a 45-day jail term.

Although a defense lawyer expressed concern that the 110-pound defendant could himself be targeted for abuse in the slammer, U.S. District Judge Anita Brody said she felt it was important that he get some time for what she described as an "extremely malicious" crime, according to the Associated Press and the Philadelphia Daily News.

Bean and his cohorts in crime reportedly sought to drive their then-high-school-age victim to suicide by identifying and publicizing explicit photos of him, posting comments while doing so such as "let's make this kid want to die," the AP article says, relying on a court filing.

The defendant, whose grandfather oversaw the real estate practice at a well-known Philadelphia law firm, could have gotten as much as five years on a child pornography charge, although the prosecution didn't seek this.

During yesterday's hearing, Brody said the case illustrated "the stupidity of sexting."

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "2 Teens Criminally Charged for Allegedly Putting Girl's Head on Nude Body in Fake Facebook Page"

ABAJournal.com: "Rutgers Suicide Case Sets Up Test of NJ Privacy Law"

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