Teens in Phoebe case fight charges
THREE of the nine teenagers connected to the bullying of a 15-year-old Irish girl who committed suicide have pleaded not guilty to charges facing them.
Phoebe Prince, who grew up in Co Clare but moved with her family to the US last September, took her own life after suffering months of bullying in her new school. Her sister found her hanging in the cupboard of their Massachusetts home on January 14.
After nine people were charged in connection with her bullying last week, a court hearing was held for three of her former classmates yesterday -- Sean Mulveyhill (17), Kayla Narey (17) and Austin Renaud (18).
Mulveyhill and Renaud are charged with statutory rape, while charges against Mulveyhill and Narey include civil rights violations and harassment.
Under a court rule, the youths were not required to appear at the hearing in Hampshire Superior Court, Massachusetts, and so their pleas were given through their lawyers.
They will next appear in court in September, and in the meantime will remain free on condition that they stay away from Phoebe's family.
Three of the other teens were charged as minors with civil rights violations, while another three -- Flannery Mullins, Sharon Chanon Velazquez and Ashley Longe (all 16) -- are expected to come before Hampshire-Franklin juvenile court for charges.
Mullins and Velazquez also face one charge each of stalking.
The abuse, which allegedly began after Phoebe briefly dated a school football player popular with female students, included calling her an "Irish slut" and was made in person, through text messages and on Facebook.