The district attorney’s office Dekalb County, Georgia is investigating the case of 11 year-old bullying victim Jaheem Herrera to determine if criminal charges can be filed.
DeKalb County DA Gwen Keyes Fleming said she cannot promise that anyone will be prosecuted. “Really what we’re trying to get an understanding on what the law is and what the facts are, and see how the two merge and how any kind of criminal activity can be put together from the two — and right now I can’t answer that until we look into it a little bit more,” Keyes Fleming said. She said she will need the dates and times of bullying incidents at Jaheem’s school — along with the names of anyone involved. Questions attorneys for the family may be able to answer. “I know it’s not a formal investigation yet, but we believe that once she looks into it, in Georgia there are certain laws that call someone to be a mandatory reporter in incidents of crime and we believe that there was at least one crime perpetrated in this bullying incident,” said the family’s attorney, Gerald Griggs. While criminal liability may be a long shot, civil liability for the little boy’s suicide may not be. Especially if the school failed to report any acts of violence against him or others.
I’m not aware of anybody being successfully prosecuted for anti-gay bullying that resulted in a suicide. While the likelihood of that happening in Jaheem’s case appears slim (judging by the DA’s words), one very likely result of the investigation will be that school administrators around that nation will step up their enforcement of anti-bullying rules. Nothing speaks like potential jail time and the threat of the multi-million dollar judgement. From tragedy, progress.
(Via – Rod 2.0)