AP Photo/Gordon Daniels, Pool
The mother of Phoebe Prince, the 15-year-old Irish immigrant who killed herself after being bullied by classmates, lashed out today at one of her daughter's tormentors and described her grief as an "unbelievable pain" that will never subside.
"There is a dead weight that now sits permanently on my chest," Anne O'Brien said through tears at a Northampton courtroom, where a judge sentenced two of the six teenagers charged in connection with Prince's death to one year of probation.
In an emotional victim impact statement, O'Brien accused Sean Mulveyhill, a former classmate who pleaded guilty to harassing Prince, of being in a "predatory" relationship with her daughter. Mulveyhill had briefly dated Prince.
"Had I known the truth, I would have viewed his interest in my daughter as predatory and she would have been forbidden to see him," she said.
She read one of her daughter's final text messages, which described her growing desperation over the bullying.
"I think Sean condoning this is one of the final nails in my coffin," Prince wrote. O'Brien's voice cracked with emotion as she read the text.
Mulveyhill, 18, was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service with at-risk youth. Charges of statutory rape and violating her civil rights were dismissed.
Kayla Narey, 18, admitted to sufficient facts to a criminal harassment charge. Charges of violating Prince's civil rights were dismissed.
Both are forbidden to have contact with Prince's family or profit from their involvement in the case.
Prince hanged herself in January 2010 at her family's South Hadley home. Her death drew international attention to the dangers of school bullying and spurred Massachusetts lawmakers to enact sweeping antibullying legislation.
In a statement, prosecutors said the guilty pleas showed that bullies will be punished for their actions.
"By admitting that they engaged in criminal harassment toward Phoebe Prince, these two defendants have publicly accepted responsibility for their actions, and have been held accountable," said First District Attorney Steven E. Gagne. "Today’s proceedings signify that bullying and harassment will not be tolerated in our schools; and when it rises to the level of criminal conduct, as it did in these two cases, those responsible will be prosecuted."
Prosecutors said the plea bargains were reached in consultation with Prince's family, and praised their "exceptional strength, patience and capacity for compassion."
Three other former classmates of Prince are due in court Thursday.
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