Saying it “was the greatest tragedy of my life that I was not there” Phoebe Prince’s father has spoken for the first time of the tragic suicide of his daughter.
Jeremy Prince stated that he and Phoebe had a good father-daughter relationship and talked about sex, drugs and other subjects which are often taboo in families. He said that the one thing they never had a conversation about it the fact that she was being so relentlessly bullied.
He said “What I didn't see was Phoebe in school…Perhaps if I had, that would have made a big difference. It is the great tragedy of my life that I was not there."
Prince, also say s that he forgives those teenagers who face criminal charges for bullying the Irish 15-year-old student.
Journalist, Emily Bazelon, with Slate, on line magazine spoke to Jeremy Price by phone in his first interview.
The gardener from County Clare told her that he did not want to see the six teens being charged made an example of. The six teens all plead not guilty but they face charges of civil rights violations, criminal harassment and stalking. They could easily face 10 years in prison for these crimes. The sixth student has also been charged with statutory rape.
About the possible outcome on the case Jeremy said “That's the district attorney's department…If someone is punished disproportionately to what they've done, that would be wrong."
"It is far more complicated, I realize. There are levels of culpability among the kids. You want to see the law acknowledged, and reasonable penalties, but without making an example of them. You want to take their ages into account. There will always be younger ones who go with the flow and join in."
He said that what he really wants is a an apology from those charged so that he and their family can move on without the idea of punishment weighing on their minds.
He said “I'd dearly like to see a mission of contrition, so that I could forgive…If they confessed to the court and said they were sorry, I'd appeal to the court for total leniency. You can go two ways. You can look to the court for revenge or you can look for leniency. The latter path is mine."
According to the article Jeremy has visited Phoebe in December 2009 just weeks before she killed herself. It seems that Jeremy had called Bazelon to clarify that Phoebe was not the troubled teen that was being described in the press.
He admitted that Phoebe had taken and overdoes of Seroquel mid-November but insisted that this was merely a cry for help and not suicide.
Jeremy insisted that the Phoebe that is being described in the press is not the one he met in December when he visited from Ireland, where he is a gardener in County Clare.
He said "That's not the girl I saw when I was there for three weeks, by any means…She was making snowmen, trying on her dress for the cotillion, asking 'Daddy, does this go with this top?' My wife and I had bought a house. Phoebe commandeered the cellar. She wanted me to partition it so she could decorate. It was that sort of Christmas."
Phoebe had been seeing a therapist and, Jeremy explained that she had not taken Seroquel in over a month. However he also said that the therapist had said that Phoebe was not a suicide threat. He added “This was when she went back to school in January. But we all know what happened."