Defendants in Phoebe Prince school bullying case enter plea bargains

In court proceedings covering two days, five of six defendants in the criminal prosecutions stemming from the 2010 suicide of Massachusetts teenager Phoebe Prince have entered into plea bargain agreements to bring the cases against them to a conclusion.

Prince was a 15-year-old student at South Hadley High School in Massachusetts at the time of her death. She was so mercilessly bullied by fellow students (in person and online) that she took her own life.

The Prince tragedy quickly became a national symbol of the harm caused by bullying in schools.

Wednesday, May 4

Peter Schworm reports for the Boston Globe (link here) that two of the individuals who bullied Prince, Sean Mulveyhill and Kayla Narey, entered guilty pleas:

  • Mulveyhill, 18, pled guilty to criminal harassment. He was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and to serve one year of probation. Charges of statutory rape and violating Prince’s civil rights were dropped in return for the plea.
  • Narey, 18, also pled guilty to criminal harassment and was sentenced to a year of probation. Charges of violating Prince’s civil rights were dropped.

Mother’s anguished statement

Schworm reports that Anne O’Brien, Prince’s mother, delivered a victim impact statement in which she “lashed out” at Mulveyhill, accusing him “of being in a ‘predatory’ relationship with her daughter.” She “described her grief as an ‘unbelievable pain’ that will never subside.”

Although O’Brien signed off on the plea agreement, friends and family in Ireland (from where Phoebe emigrated) are outraged over the plea deals, believing that stiffer sentences were merited, report Marie Szaniszlo and Christine McConville for the Boston Herald (link here).

Go here for a Globe video story including O’Brien’s statement.

Thursday, May 5

The Herald‘s Marie Szaniszlo reports on three more guilty pleas taken the next day (link here)

In Franklin-Hampshire Juvenile Court, Sharon Velazquez, Flannery Mullins and Ashley Longe were sentenced to less than a year’s probation after they admitted to sufficient facts to misdemeanor charges in connection with Phoebe’s Jan. 14, 2010, death.

In addition, charges of statutory rape against Austin Renaud were dropped, with Phoebe’s family supporting the decision.

***

Previous blog posts

The school bullying suicide of Phoebe Prince, age 15

On Phoebe Prince: Divergent accounts of a tragedy

Newsweek on bullying and related behaviors

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