Phoebe Prince Bullying Case Over: No Jail for 5 Teens
She hanged herself in January; charges dropped against sixth teen
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2011 4:22 PM CDT
Sharon Chanon Velazquez, 17, is tearful during a victim impact statement by Anne O'Brien, mother of Phoebe Prince.   (AP Photo/Michael S. Gordon, Pool)

(Newser) – Five teens accused of bullying teenage classmate Phoebe Prince into suicide accepted plea deals today and yesterday and will get probation and community service but no jail time. Charges have been dropped against a sixth teen accused of statutory rape, notes AP. Phoebe's mother once again publicly addressed her daughter's tormentors today with an emotional statement, reports the Boston Globe.

“Phoebe tried to be strong, but sometimes all people want to do is break you,” said Anne O'Brien. Referring to one of the accused teens at today's hearing, she said the girl had "terrified my daughter with her anger." Afterward, the teen "began to gently cry, continuing for 20 seconds or so in a still courtroom," writes Peter Schworm of the Globe. Phoebe, a 15-year-old Irish immigrant, hanged herself in January. Click to read an account of the case by Emily Bazelon at Slate, who has written extensively on cyberbullying.

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Showing 3 of 33 comments
hwoodude
May 6, 2011 7:48 AM CDT
Why aren't the initiators of this terrrible, thoughtless, evil crime recepients of jail time?! It seems bullying by teens is all too common. In a society that seems to cater to kids for their money re: distorted, violnet movies, crude music, and endless telephoning, twitteriing, e-mailing etc. instead of receiving parental control and the teaching of honesty, morality, and respect for others. I can't imagine the horrible life that dear young child endured because of the lack of control the school system had over some spoiled, stupid teenagers. A few months in jail,cleaning toilets, standing in lines, listening to prisoners yelling at night, eating bland food, and wearing prison clothing plus being without their beloved cell phones is miniscule punishment in light of their cruel, mindless, deadly crime! over a few twisted, unsupervised teen agers.
tangeri
May 6, 2011 7:44 AM CDT
Good. After reading Slate's comprehensive three part report, I think justice was done. I don't think those kids deserved jail time. I know that sounds bad if you haven't read the report, or haven't sat through the hearings, and only heard demonizing news stories, but it's not so simple as just some bullying. I think the justice system did a good job here. http://www.slate.com/id/2260952/entry/2260953/
coachalx7
May 5, 2011 11:18 PM CDT
This is becoming all to common in society today. The parents of those teenagers did a very poor job and the teens well I don't know them but from what I have seen of them, they have no remorse. My niece is graduating in June from highschool and we are thankful see made it out safely. For the last eight years of Jr. high and highschool she was picked on and bullied endlessly. Thank God she has a good support system but often that is not enough. Those kids need to at least go to jail for say thirty days. If they were driving drunk while drinking under age they would be spending time in juvenile hall or jail. We all need to understand how powerful words are, and how what we say can make a person's day or break a person down. I am ashamed that as a country we have come so far on some things but are still so far behind in so many other things. I am sure any of the parents of the five children on trial had the roles been reversed would have been screaming for her head on a platter. As for comments on suicide I was on the brink of suicide when getting sober thirteen years ago. If you haven't been there please refrain from commenting on what you know nothing about. Kind words and support from my peers saved my life. Words saved my life! Different words could have saved hers. I offer my prayers to her family.