Police investigating the suicide of a bullied gay teenager said Nov. 22 that offensive comments he endured online and at school couldn’t be considered criminal and that no charges would be filed.
Amherst, N.Y., investigators last month sent 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer’s computer and cell phone to a forensics lab to help determine whether anyone should be prosecuted for the bullying he often talked about before taking his life Sept. 18. They also interviewed Jamey’s family, friends, and peers, uncovering five bullying episodes at Williamsville North High School, where he’d just begun his freshman year, Chief John Askey said.
“He was exposed to stresses in every facet of his life that were beyond what should be experienced by a 14-year-old boy,” Askey told reporters during a news conference at police headquarters.
But neither the in-school bullying episodes, one of which involved pushing and an anti-gay remark, nor “insensitive and inappropriate” online comments were found to be prosecutable, Askey said, in part because the victim is dead and unable to help prove harassment or other charges that might have been filed.
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“I’m not satisfied, to be honest,” said Askey, adding that officers had devoted hundreds of hours to the investigation. “I would like to have seen something we could have done from a prosecution standpoint.”
Jamey’s father, Timothy Rodemeyer, had a similar response.
“We’re not satisfied, but we somewhat expected this outcome,” he told The Associated Press by phone after the press conference. “That’s why we’ve taken on a mission trying to get laws passed that will make people accountable.”
The investigation determined that three students had targeted Jamey in high school, one of whom hired a lawyer after Jamey’s death. Those students weren’t the ones commenting inappropriately in online forums, the investigation determined.