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Entries in Phoebe Prince (2)

Wednesday
May042011

Mother of Girl, Bullied to Death, Speaks Out Against Tormentors

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- The heartbroken mother of bullied teen Phoebe Prince ended her silence Wednesday as two of her late daughter's tormentors were sentenced in a Massachusetts courtroom. Anne O'Brien, Phoebe Prince's mother, broke down as she read a victim impact statement in front of Judge Jeffrey Kinder.

"Never again will she ask me to read a short story...or poem she has written," said O'Brien. "Phoebe was a beautiful, intelligent and gregarious daughter with a kind heart able to show compassion for others."

Sean Mulveyhill, 18, and Kayla Narey, 18, both pled guilty to criminal harassment in Hampshire Superior Court and were sentenced to a year's probation and community service.

Phoebe Prince moved with her family from Ireland to South Hadley, Mass., in 2009. She entered South Hadley High School and began a brief relationship with Mulveyhill. The relationship apparently angered Mulveyhill's former girlfriend, Kayla Narey, and even though Prince and Mulveyhill eventually stopped dating Narey and her friends continued to bully and harass Prince in-person and online.

Prince hanged herself in January of 2010.

Anne O'Brien addressed both of her daughter's former classmates in open court Wednesday, speaking first about Sean Mulveyhill, her daughter's former boyfriend.

"Had I known the truth I would have viewed his interest in my daughter as predatory…where was his empathy?" asked O'Brien.

O'Brien also spoke about Kayla Narey's role as one of her daughter's bulliers. "Kayla had the opportunity to be a true leader…and end Phoebe's torment…Kayla Narey is not capable of compassion."

In a written statement, First District Attorney Steven Gagne said the plea deals were reached after a "thorough consultation with the family, and have their approval and support." Gagne added that jail time for the defendants was not as important to the Prince family as hearing a public apology.

Three other teens accused of bullying Phoebe Prince, Ashley Longe, Flannery Mullins and Sharon Velazquez are expected to also plead guilty Thursday in juvenile courtroom tomorrow.

A sixth student, Austin Renaud, has a pretrial conference scheduled for July.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

Thursday
Dec232010

Phoebe Prince's Family Speaks Out as One-Year Anniversary of Suicide Nears

Photo Courtesy - EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images(SOUTH HADLEY, Mass.) -- Nearly a year after 15-year-old Phoebe Prince hanged herself in her family's South Hadley, Mass. home after alleged bullying and harassment by her classmates, Phoebe's family is calling for more awareness about teenage suicide.

"I think the truest justice for Phoebe is to speak out on her behalf against the despair and the pain that our children are holding inside and to make it better...for another child," Eileen Moore, the aunt of Phoebe Phoebe, said. "I don't have the answers, I just know we have a crisis and we need to do something."

With the blessing of Phoebe's family, a group of Boston-area teenagers called the Samaritans is holding a fundraiser -- "Make Noise to Save a Life" -- Thursday night to raise awareness about suicide prevention.

"Our children are in desperate pain," Moore said. "We're not listening, we're not hearing their pain, we need to start an active conversation."

Phoebe, who would have turned 16 in November, was found dead in January. Her family had recently moved to South Hadley from Ireland. Following her death, friends came forward to describe her torment.

"A lot of people just would always like taunt and tease her, just call her names," Kate Broderick, a friend of Phoebe's, said. The taunting extended to text messages, and harassment on social networking sites such as Facebook.

Last July, Anne O'Brien Prince and William Allan Jeremy Prince, Phoebe's parents, filed a discrimination suit with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, citing "sexual harassment in an educational institution" as the basis for the complaint that named South Hadley Public Schools Superintendent Gus Sayer, Principal Dan Smith, Vice Principal William Evans and other members of the school staff, alleging that they "failed to adequately address or remedy the harassing conduct of the school's students, which had the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with Phoebe's education by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating and sexually offensive educational environment."

The six-page document cited several specific incidents in which Vice Principal William Evans learned of multiple acts of bullying and failed to follow school disciplinary procedures. One example occurred Jan. 8, 2010, by a student referred to as "Student B," who admitted to verbally assaulting and threatening Phoebe and calling her vulgar and offensive epithets. Despite the admission, the complaint alleges neither "Mr. Evans nor any other administrator contacted Phoebe's parents to address the harassing conduct."

Officials from the school have always maintained that they acted in accordance with school policy and could not have prevented her death. ´╗┐

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