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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Fla. Sheriff Speaks Out About Bullying Suicide Investigation

Pallbearers wearing anti-bullying t-shirts carry the casket of Rebecca Sedwick,12, to a waiting hearse as they exit the Whidden-McLean Funeral Home Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, in Bartow, Fla. (AP/Brian Blanco)

Pallbearers wearing anti-bullying t-shirts carry the casket of Rebecca Sedwick,12, to a waiting hearse as they exit the Whidden-McLean Funeral Home Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, in Bartow, Fla. (AP/Brian Blanco)

The Sheriff of Polk County, Fla. has arrested two middle school girls for bullying another girl, Rebecca Sedwick, until her suicide earlier this month.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Facebook comments were the last straw after a month long investigation into Sedwick’s death. Two girls were arrested on felony aggravated stalking charges.

Judd read Saturday night’s Facebook post aloud at a press conference earlier this week: “Yes IK I bullied REBECCA nd she killed her self but IDGAF” [sic].

Judd said he was upset the girl’s parents hadn’t taken away her access to online social networks, and he arrested her to make sure she didn’t bully anyone else.

It’s not about one action that caused Rebecca to jump to her death. She was tormented for months and months and months.

– Sheriff Grady Judd

Her parents claim their daughter’s account was hacked. Judd refutes that claim.

“Our criminal case was not built upon that Saturday data,” Judd told Here & Now‘s Robin Young. “And second of all, we have absolutely no reason to believe that it’s a hacker because it follows the pattern of activity from the evidence and witnesses we’ve already talked to.”

The investigation, which is still open, includes data from other social media websites.

“It’s not about one action that caused Rebecca to jump to her death,” Judd said. “She was tormented for months and months and months, to November of ’12. And not just online, but in person, in school.”

Judd does admit openly that he has been touched by Sedwick’s death.

“I was there that day,” Judd said. “I was there when I saw that 12 year-old child — that baby — dead at the foot of that cement plant. It broke my heart. And if there is anything that I can do to make sure that that never happens to another child, not just in my county but across the state and across the nation and around my world, I want to do that. Bullying shouldn’t be a law enforcement issue. The first line of defense are the parents. The second  line of defense are the friends and the neighbors.”

Guest

  • Grady Judd, Polk County Sheriff.

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