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Jamey Rodemeyer’s Bullies Will Not Be Charged

Jamey Rodemeyer’s Bullies Will Not Be Charged

 

Police have announced that they will not be prosecuting the kids who bullied Jamey Rodemeyer, the fourteen year-old New Yorker who took his own life in September following what his family and friends say was a sustained campaign of bullying over his perceived sexual orientation.

Following Jamey’s tragic suicide, made worse for the fact that Jamey had only fairly recently recorded an It Gets Better video, Amherst Police Chief John Askey said the unit would be launching a full and thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding Jamey’s death.

However on Tuesday of this week Askey announced that he would be closing this case because, among other things, the ages of Rodemeyer’s bullies mean their actions are not prosecutable under the law.

From The Buffalo News:

Askey admitted to being disappointed at being unable to send a stronger message that bullying and harassment is intolerable.

“I would have liked to have arrested someone for this,” he said of a case that has gained national attention, but “we can’t make a case when the proof necessary to prosecute it isn’t there.”

Police investigated a total of seven bullying incidents involving Jamey, the chief said, two of which occurred at Heim Middle School and five at Williamsville North.

But no charges will be brought forward because all of the alleged perpetrators were juvenile classmates, either 14 or 15 years old, who could not be held criminally accountable for what would be considered violations — not even misdemeanors — had they been adults.

Other potential charges were dismissed, Askey said, on grounds that second and third party accounts of Jamey being bullied were not strong enough to be actionable. He also said that a lack of victim testimony compounds the difficulty in bringing charges.

More from WKBW:

“Jamey is no longer with us,” Askey said. “He can’t testify on his own behalf.

“I can assume – the public can assume – but we don’t have a victim,” he added. “We don’t have a statement from Jamey. He’s not part of the prosecution. That’s a huge element of proof that’s missing from this case.”

In addition, some of the incidents occurred years ago when Rodemeyer was still in middle school and do not fall into the statute of limitations.

None of the alleged incidents of bullying involved threats, Askey said.

“The police department specifically spent a lot of time investigating this,” said Askey.

“We took it very seriously and we’ve done everything that we could do,” he added.

You can see a clip of Askey’s press conference below where he protests the notion that Jamey’s bullies have simply been let off the hook by this decision:

You can head over to Buffalo News to view the full thing which outlines in more detail why Jamey’s bullies will not be prosecuted.

As many readers will know Jamey was a Lady Gaga fan and following news of Jamey’s death the pop superstar was moved to action over this cause, meeting with President Obama to discuss the issue and later launching the Born This Way Foundation to combat bullying and inspire young people to embrace individuality.

Jamey’s suicide also prompted New York State Senator Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx) to introduce legislation that would modernize New York’s anti-bullying laws. In particular his legislation is designed to make tackling cyber bullying easier. Current laws do not necessarily cover this form of harassment. The legislation would, among other things, expand the charge of Second-Degree Manslaughter (a Class C Felony) to include “bullycide.” The term is defined as when a person engages in cyberbullying and intentionally causes the victim to commit suicide.

Jamey took to the Internet and blogged about a number of bullying incidents. It was on those very posts that several individuals had in fact made comments that Jamey should end his own life, though no direct threats of wanting to harm Jamey were ever reported.

A school investigation remains ongoing.

Whether Jamey’s parents will launch court proceedings over their son’s death is not known at this time.

Related Reading:

Jamey Rodemeyer Death: Police Open Criminal Investigation

Anti-Gay Bullying Leads to Another Teen Suicide

Facebook Launches Stop Bullying App

 

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Image taken from Jamey's It Gets Better Video, no infringement intended.

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90 comments

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11:33PM PST on Feb 5, 2012

Agree with Silvia G. and other similar comments.

11:27PM PST on Feb 5, 2012

BOLLOCKS!

8:15AM PST on Dec 29, 2011

I agree with most of you, law needs to be changed. Bullies cannot get away with it, it's wrong, they would think is alright and that they can do whatever they feel like and if they can do that at 15 what would they do when they're a bit older? This kid killed himself because he couldn't cope anymore, that should mean something about what he was going through, and his bullies just shouldn't get away with it. Jamey and all the kids going through the same deserve something else and those who haven't killed themselves yet deserve to know there will be justice for them if they speak out.

7:13AM PST on Nov 29, 2011

Bullying needs to be added as a hate crime, because that is what it is. It is unfortunate that there will be, apparently, no repercussions to the ones responsible. Sends the wrong message

10:57AM PST on Nov 28, 2011

laws need to be put in place! Community service for underage people that are sentenced.

9:01AM PST on Nov 28, 2011

What a shame, now those kids won't learn any lessons from this. I hope they are shunned by others who won't tolerate this kind of behavior towards others. Otherwise another life might be lost :(

3:59AM PST on Nov 28, 2011

Thanks for the article.

8:24PM PST on Nov 27, 2011

If the bullies' parents care at all about their sons' ethical characters, they should make sure that they receive intensive counseling on what it means to be a moral/ethical human being.

4:52PM PST on Nov 27, 2011

Kathleen L. I agree with much of what you say. We do not show children enough love and we disrespect their opinions. Parenting is partly a learned skill and partly instinct. Unfortunately, many adults cannot be bothered to learn what their instinct cannot tell them. Children who are being bullied (I prefer the term 'victimised") and the perpetrators both need help and I am one of many who spends a large portion of his time doing just that. I do have to disagree with you on one point and that is your comment re. them not understanding “consequences until in their twenties" I am a specialist in child mental health and I can assure you that most children and young people of average intelligence DO have the ability to understand the difference between behaving in an acceptable manner and when they have crossed the line into unacceptable. The difference between one and the other is what they feel they should do and what they can get away with. Even when their upbringing is largely to blame for their anti-social attitudes, most are still aware they are involved in wrong-doing, but they lack the inner controls to deal with some of their behaviour. This does not mean that they are helped by being excused and not made aware of how others regard their actions. Simply letting them off with excuses does them (and society) a disservice.

6:35AM PST on Nov 27, 2011

Why is our country getting so punitive? THe children who bully other children need help-- not tried as adults. The brains of children do not fully form the cognitive ability to understand consequences until in their twenties. Couple that with a lack of ongoing compassion in this country, the high probability that some of these kids have been abused and bullied themselves and you get a recipe for disaster. I was bullied terribly as a child. My father was the town drunk, we were poor. I know the heartache of being bullied. I also know the heartache of losing a child, so I am not just throwing opinions out there. CHILDREN in THIS COUNTRY NEED HELP. We don't parent anymore, we leave to absorb violence and their ethics from video games and media and then wonder why bullying has increased. People in this country have gotten mean spirited-- I see it everytime I go shopping, or drive to work. Then we wonder where all this is coming from? Children live what they learn from their surroundings, and in this country they are surrounded by an overload of anger and cruelty.

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