On September 9th, 12 year-old Rebecca Sedwick climbed one of the towers of an abandoned cement factory and jumped to her death. Why would such a young girl commit such an act? The answer lies in the months leading up to the suicide. Two girls have been charged with her death, and it seems that more arrests are possible. Guadelupe Shaw and Katelyn Roman were arrested Monday for felony aggravated stalking charges and were taken to juvenile detention. Shaw is still in police custody and Roman has been released to her family under home detention.
The bullying problem at Crystal Lake Middle School in Polk County, Florida was so severe for Sedwick that she was forced to transfer schools. She thought the problem would have ended there, but due to the ever-growing number of social media platforms, Shaw’s bullying continued over the internet. At one point Sedwick had up to 15 girls terrorizing her at one once. Upon closer inspection of the social media exchanges, it is revealed that one of the girls told Sedwick to “drink bleach and die.” Arrests were not scheduled to be made so soon, but immediately following her death, Shaw posted the following message online, “Yes ik [I know] I bullied REBECCA nd she killed her self but IDGAF [I don’t give a f***].” The message was posted while the authorities were closely monitoring Shaw’s online presence and they decided to act. Shaw’s mother claimed that her Facebook account was hacked, and that she has been monitoring her daughter’s internet usage. Now Polk County Sheriffs are building a case against the girls mother for allowing the abuse because her mother is denying anything wrong had been done. The prosecuter is perceived as overstepping his legal bounds, but some type of action is necessary in such a legal gray area. Roman and Shaw were taken into custody because detectives are convinced that their unfaltering abuse fueled the suicide.
Sedwick’s death is a tragedy that deserves national attention, this country’s bullying problem needs to be addressed. If you or someone you know is under attack, please contact the professionals at Crowe, Arnold & Majors for legal counsel.