Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Nine US teens charged over Irish girl's suicide

Nine teenagers have been charged in the United States in connection with the suicide of a 15-year-old Irish girl – two of them for statutory rape.

Phoebe Prince from Fanore in Co Clare died just months after starting as a new student at South Hadley High School in Massachusetts.



She had moved with her family in September.



It's thought she died by suicide on January 14 at her home after enduring weeks of torment from bullies in school and on her Facebook page.



The teen had been due to return to Ireland later this year.



District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel confirmed yesterday that nine teenagers – three of them juveniles – have been charged in connection with the Irish girl's death following a 10- week criminal investigation.



"Their conduct far exceeded the limits of normal teenage relationship-related quarrels," Ms Scheibel said of the nine.



Ms Scheibel said that on at least one occasion, a school staff member witnessed the bullying while Phoebe was in a school library.



"From information known to investigators, it appears that Phoebe's death followed a torturous day for her, in which she was subjected to verbal harassment and threatened physical abuse," Ms Scheibel said.



On that day, she said, Phoebe was harassed while she was studying in the school library, as she walked in the hallways near the end of the school day, and as she walked on Newton Street toward her home.



"The harassment reported to have occurred that day in the school library appears to have been conducted in the presence of a faculty member and several students, but went unreported until after Phoebe's death."







One student is charged with statutory rape, violation of civil rights with bodily injury resulting, criminal harassment and disturbance of a school assembly. Another is charged with violation of civil rights with bodily injury resulting and criminal harassment.A third is charged with statutory rape.

Three others are all charged with violation of civil rights with bodily injury resulting.



All of the accused will be served a summons to appear in court at a future date.



Three female juveniles, who were not named, are also charged with various counts from violation of civil rights to criminal harassment and assault with a dangerous weapon, believed to be either a bottle or a can.







Phoebe is survived by her mother Anne O'Brien Prince, father Jeremy Prince, sisters Lauren, Tessa, Bridget and brother Simon.



In a statement after her funeral, Phoebe's family said her friends and family on bothsides of the Atlantic would "grieve the loss of the incandescententhusiasm of a life blossoming".



Source Irish Independent

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