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Friday
Sep232011

Jamey Rodemeyer Suicide: Police Consider Criminal Bullying Charges

ABC News / Handout(BUFFALO, N.Y.) -- Police have opened a criminal investigation into the suicide death of Buffalo, N.Y., 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer, who was bullied online with gay slurs for more than a year.

The teen's parents, friends and even Lady Gaga, who was his idol, have expressed outrage about what they say was relentless torment on social networking websites.

The Amherst Police Department's Special Victims Unit has said it will determine whether to charge some students with harassment, cyber-harassment or hate crimes.  Police said three students in particular might have been involved.  Rodemeyer was a student at Heim Middle School.

Rodemeyer had just started his freshman year at Williamsville North High School, but the bullying had begun during middle school, according to his parents.  He had told family and friends that he had endured hateful comments in school and online, mostly related to his sexual orientation.

The teenager was found dead outside his home Sunday morning, but Amherst police would not release any details on how he killed himself.

"The special victims unit is looking into the circumstances prior to his death," Captain Michael Camilleri said.  "We are not sure if there is anything criminal or not."

No bullying laws exist in New York State, according to Camilleri, so police would have to determine whether aggravated harassment charges fit this case.  Whether suspects would be tried in juvenile court would depend on whether the alleged bully was 16 or older, he said.

Police said they had spoken with Williamsville School Superintendent Scott G. Martzloff, who has pledged the district's cooperation.

"We've heard that there were some specific students, an identifiable group of students, that had specifically targeted Jamey, or had been picking on him for a period of time," Police Chief John C. Askey told The Buffalo News.

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