Charges Are Dropped In Florida Cyberbullying Case
Florida officials have dropped the charges against two girls who had been accused of bullying Rebecca Sedwick, a 12-year-old who jumped to her death after being taunted and bullied online. Police say the girls will receive counseling.
The legal case began in September, when Sedwick, a seventh-grader in Lakeland, killed herself. Police said that two of her schoolmates, one 14 years old and one who recently turned 13, were the "primary harassers" in a group of girls that bullied Sedwick for months before her death. They were arrested last month and placed under house arrest.
As the Two-Way has reported, the older girl was believed to have posted a comment on Facebook about Sedwick's death in which she admitted to bullying her and said she didn't care that Sedwick had killed herself.
The girls' families and attorneys have maintained that the charges against them were without merit.
Discussing the outcome of the case Wednesday, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd stressed that the two girls had not been charged with killing Sedwick, but instead with aggravated stalking. And he said that as the matter is a juvenile case, the central priority is to do what is best for the juveniles involved.
The girls who had faced charges will now receive help, Judd said.
"We're exceptionally pleased with the outcome of the case," the sheriff said in a news conference webcast by local WFTV 9 News.
"We see that the children are going to get the services they need," he said.
He noted that the older girl "is going to receive the services she needs, hopefully, to make her a productive citizen" in the future.