The trial of Phoebe Prince's bullies ended yesterday with three teens receiving probation for less than a year. Finally Anne O'Brien, Prince's mother will bring her daughter home to Ireland to her final resting place.
Speaking in court O'Brien said "I have not yet buried Phoebe’s ashes…I have been waiting for peace... I will return home and bury my daughter.” She added that she plans to place a stone Celtic cross on her daughter's grave.
At the Franklin-Hampshire Juvenile Court, on Thursday, Sharon Velaquez, Flannery Mullins and Ashley Longe were sentenced to less than a year's probation. They had pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges. Similarly Sean Mulveyhill and Kayla Narey were similarly sentenced to 100 days of community service along with probation.
The charges of statutory rape against the sixth accused teen, Austin Renaud, were dropped. District Attorney David E. Sullivan explained that this was "upon the request of the O'Brien-Prince family and in the interest of justice."
O'Sullivan said that Prince's family "was never looking for these teenagers to go to jail. They were looking for accountability, responsibility and remorse.
“This prosecution has shattered the myths that bullying is just a part of growing up, that it affects only a small number of kids and that kids can just work it out themselves…The era of turning a blind eye to bullying and harassment is over.”
Last March the former District Attorney, Elizabeth D. Scheibel, had taken and unprecedented action by charging the six teens as adults. On Thursday she released a statement that explained she did not regret her decision. She explained "the public may never fully learn of the facts that supported each and every charge in these cases.”
O'Brien although clearly emotional throughout the trial said she was satisfied with the outcome. Sullivan added that despite the light sentences these cases signify “that bullying and harassment will not be tolerated in our schools.”
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