In January of 2010, news of the suicide of Phoebe Prince rocked Massachusetts and the United States. Today, five of the six bullies charged in Prince’s death have pleaded guilty to misdemeanor crimes related to the case. The remaining charge has been dropped.
The Phoebe Prince case
On January 14, 2010, high school student Phoebe Prince committed suicide. For several months preceding her death, Prince was harassed, bullied and taunted by fellow students. Allegedly, reports of this bullying were ignored by the school administration. Six schoolmates of Prince were were charged in connection with the case.
Bullies plead guilty to charges
Earlier this week, two individuals pleaded guilty to the charges they faced. Sean Mulveyhill and Kayla Narvey, both 18, pleaded guilty to some of the charges. Mulveyhill pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of criminal harassment. Narey did not plead guilty but admitted that there were sufficient facts for her to be found guilty of criminal harassment. Ashley Longe, Flannery Mullins and Sharon Velazquez also admitted that there was sufficient evidence for them to be found guilty. All five of these individuals will serve probation and do at least 50 hours of community service. The defendants are also blocked from making any profit from their involvement with the case. The sixth individual charged, Austin Renaud, who did not plead guilty, has had all charges, including one of statutory rape, dropped as of May 5.
Questioning plea agreements
A group of South Hadley High School parents has spoken out against the plea bargaining that resulted in probation for the bullies. These parents feel that the authorities should have used these five individuals to “send a message” about bullying. These parents feel that probation and community service simply are not strong enough punishments for bullying a girl into committing suicide. Others feel that because these individuals are young and they could not have known that their actions would lead to Prince’s death, probation is enough of a punishment.
Boston Herald http://news.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/2011_0428parents_angry_over_likely_plea_deals_in_prince_case/
Mass Live http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2011/05/mulveyhill_and_narey_get_proba.html
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