Morgan & Morgan is announcing that Winter Haven attorney David Henry has been retained to represent Tricia Norman, the mother of Rebecca Sedwick, who committed suicide after being the victim of, according to 10 News online
in Tampa Bay, allegedly “relentless” cyberbullying for months at the hands of classmates.
“We’re going to look at every possible potentially responsible party,” Henry said. “We applaud the efforts of Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd and his office in investigating and responding to this tragedy.”
According to a Reuters news report
, on September 9, Sedwick leapt to her death from an abandoned cement factory tower near her home in Lakeland. According to Reuters, Sedwick was “repeatedly and maliciously” harassed on social media with comments calling her “ugly,” telling her to “drink bleach and die,” and encouraging the 12-year-old to kill herself, among other bullying remarks.
Though multiple juveniles are suspected to have participated in the harassment, the Reuters report continued, one comment made online after Sedwick’s death prompted Sheriff Judd to arrest who he referred to as the “two primary harassers.” Two former classmates of Sedwick’s, ages 12 and 14, were arrested and charged with felony aggravated stalking after the 14-year-old allegedly posted “Yes, I bullied Rebecca and she killed herself but IDGAF,” an acronym for “I don’t give a [expletive],” online, Reuters reports.
A graduate of the Stetson University College of Law and a Florida Bar board-certified civil trial lawyer, Henry, who has been AV-Rated by Martindale-Huebbell, feels the days of parents feeling comfortable with children being left to their own devices may be over. With the Internet’s dominance over the attention span of America’s youth, Henry, the managing partner at Morgan & Morgan’s Winter Haven office, feels that the threat of cyberbullying is more prevalent now than ever.
“It used to be parent could be relatively assured that their kids were safe in their room, but that’s no longer the case. A computer in a child’s bedroom is their porthole to the outside world,” Henry said. “Cyberbullying has become a pervasive problem among our children and it needs to stop.”
Though Florida has an anti-bullying law, it was amended only recently to cover instances of cyberbullying, and leaves punishment in such cases to schools instead of law enforcement, who may later have the option of seeking traditional criminal charges against suspected cyber harassment.
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