Lawyers for three teenage girls charged in the bullying of a 15-year-old girl who committed suicide entered not guilty pleas Thursday on behalf of their clients.
Ashley Longe, Sharon Chanon Velazquez and Flannery Mullins, all 16, did not appear at their arraignment in Franklin-Hampshire Juvenile Court in Hadley on civil rights violations and stalking charges. A judge ordered them to have no contact with the family of Phoebe Prince.
Prince was a South Hadley High School freshman who hanged herself in January after what prosecutors called an "unrelenting" three-month bullying campaign by six teenagers. Prosecutors say Prince was targeted after she briefly dated a popular boy.
School administrators and teachers knew about the harassment but did little to stop it, District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel has said.
"This is the first step in a long process," Alfred Chamberland, Mullins' lawyer, said Thursday. Lawyers for the other two defendants had no immediate comment.
Assistant District Attorney Michael Cahillane declined to discuss specifics of the case Thursday after the hearing, saying further information will probably come out in public court proceedings and records.
"We will respect the court process in order to protect the rights of the victim and the defendants in this case," he said.
The three other teens charged in connection with Prince's death had not guilty pleas entered on their behalf at their arraignment Tuesday in Hampshire Superior Court.
Sean Mulveyhill, 17, and Austin Renaud, 18, are charged with statutory rape. Kayla Narey, 17, is charged with civil rights violations and harassment. All three were released on personal recognizance and ordered to stay away from the Prince family.
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