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Jamey Rodemeyer Death: Police Open Criminal Investigation

Jamey Rodemeyer Death: Police Open Criminal Investigation

Last Sunday, teenager Jamey Rodemeyer committed suicide. The 14-year-old from Buffalo, NY had been taunted endlessly because of his sexual orientation. Though he found solace in the blogosphere, his friends at school and the music of Lady Gaga, the anti-gay bullying proved too much for Jamey to escape. One anonymous online commenter told the teen, “I wouldn’t care if you died. No one would. So just do it Ö It would make everyone WAY more happier![sic]”

“Go kill yourself, you’re worthless, ugly and dont have a point to live[sic],” wrote another. “You werent born this way. You shouldnt have ever been born[sic].”

Now, police are opening a criminal investigation into Jamey’s suicide. There are currently no bullying laws in New York State, but the Amherst Police Special Victims Unit is weighing harassment, cyber-harassment or hate crime charges for three students at Williamsville North High School, where Jamey had just started his freshman year.

“The special victims unit is looking into the circumstances prior to his death,” Captain Michael Camilleri told ABC News. “We are not sure if there is anything criminal or not.”

Police Chief John C. Askey, meanwhile, told the Buffalo News that “there may have been crimes that have been committed against him,” but refused to speculate further.

“We’re going to be speaking to school officials and students and anyone with direct information about crimes that may have been committed against this individual,” the chief added. Officials at the Williamsville School District have pledged full cooperation to the investigations.

Friends and family described Jamey as a sweet, outgoing youth who always put his loved ones first. Last May, despite his own struggles with bullying, Jamey made an “It Gets Better” video for YouTube. He was very active on the social media blog Tumblr as well as Facebook, Twitter and the anonymous question-and-answer site Formspring. It was Jamey’s Formspring account that attracted the most hurtful, hate-filled messages.

School counselors had advised Jamey not to discuss his sexual orientation online and his parents say that he had stopped using Formspring last year, but the anti-gay sentiments may have become too deeply internalized for Jamey to overcome them. In recent weeks, he complained that no one listened to him and posted dark, depressed song lyrics.

Daryl Presgraves of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), told ABC News that the internet has been a double-edged sword for LGBT teens. “You have a scenario where for a lot of youth, it’s the only [place they can go] and seek peers to give them support and to feel connected to a community,” Presgraves said. “At the same time, they expose themselves to negative cyberbullying.”

Authorities have not revealed the method of Jamey’s death.

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, please remember that there is help.
The following national hotlines are free and confidential, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:

The Trevor Project
24/7 Suicide Hotline for GLBTQI Youth
1-866-4-U-Trevor
www.thetrevorproject.org

USA National Suicide Prevention Hotline
24/7, Free & Confidential
1-800-SUICIDE
www.hopeline.com

 

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57 comments

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1:09AM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

Kids that bully are a reflection of their poor upbringing. Either the kids are neglected or taught to be nasty and hateful by their adult examples. Of course the parents of these children don't want to take responsibility for their kids bad behavior and are often in denial about their kids. It's a shame that there's no pre-requisite to be a good and decent person in order to breed and have a litter.

1:42PM PDT on Oct 12, 2011

Shauna N., I couldn't disagree more with you. You are so cruel and insensitive, it's scary!

Ever heard of an "abettor"? It's a person who "approves, encourages, and supports (an action or a plan of action); urges and helps on"; in other words, an accessory. Now tell me those bullies are not accessories to this poor boy's suicide!

Also, your comment "This kid unfortunat[e]ly wanted attention and that[']s what he got" is nothing sort of idiotic. An ATTEMPTED suicide would be a cry for attention, because the person commiting it doesn't really want to die, they just need someone to notice and help them. When a person commits suicide and DIES, how on earth would them be seeking attention, since they won't be around to get it??

Your comments are very childish, I do hope some day you'll grow up and realise that bullies are criminals and should be treated as such. It's definitely NOT a normal behaviour for any child, as you so casually seem to believe ("Kids are kids, and kids bully each other, no matter what anyone does it will still happen[s]").

I also hope you are not a mother (or plan to become one soon).

4:32PM PDT on Oct 4, 2011

A hate crime is a hate crime. It doesn't matter where it happened. Yes they should be prosecuted!

I thank her talent that my daughter was accepted to a publicly funded School of the Arts instead of being forced to go to the high school she was zoned for.

Kids are afraid of being different. If they're bullies, if they're not stopped bullying it only gets worse as they get older.

12:47PM PDT on Oct 4, 2011

This was a terible tragedy, regardless of sexual orientation!!~~The people involved with the circumstances surrounding his death should be punished for his death!!~~We should send the message that we will not tolerate this kind of behavior, from anyone!!~~R.I.P., Jamey!!~~

6:06PM PDT on Oct 2, 2011

I wish parents would instill some kind of compassion into their kids instead of filling them with bigotry and hate...

9:17AM PDT on Sep 29, 2011

Everything I've read about Jamey tells me he was an absolutely LOVELY boy. ='(

8:32PM PDT on Sep 28, 2011

I strongly urge folks to go to bullypolice.org and see not only what damage bullying can lead to, but also see the legislation that has been passed state by state. Bullycide is a problem, and some kids unfortunately can't make it through High School for that magic time where things get better. Not to mention the lasting scars that linger into adulthood. Bullying is abuse, the same as sexual, physical or mental abuse. And sometimes it encompasses all three. The site was formed by Brenda High, who's son Jared shot himself 4 days after turning 13 after severe bullying in school. Thanks to her lawsuit and subsequent legislation, changes are starting. But we still have a long ways to go.

8:12PM PDT on Sep 28, 2011

I am so saddened by this article. Being bullied is a form of vicious attack, not something some people can get over. There is no waiting for high school to be over for some, it is just too painful. We cannot compare how we would feel or what other people felt or how they handle this form of abuse. There needs to be swift punishement when the first case of a person being bullied happens, lets not wait for any of our children to get to this point. Teachers, parents, grandparents and friends must be joining together to stop these hate filled people from continuing to hurt our kids.

7:20PM PDT on Sep 28, 2011

People should be held accountable for their actions regardless if they happen on the school yard or on the internet. The complexity of this issue should not mean that it's a freebie. We must hold our selves and our children accountable for what happens online!

3:38PM PDT on Sep 28, 2011

Also, it would be a completely different story if he was brutally physically ataked by these kids and died, then THAT is when people need to be charged, NOT for someones suicide

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